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Global hop market

A local alternative to mass beer suggested by independent brewers has been successful and is now altering the global market. Beer is becoming more diversified, so transnational companies have to accept the new game rules and to switch focus to young and fast growing markets. All these processes increased the demand for aroma and bitter hop as well as their acreage expansion on two continents. However now there appeared a downward trend of alcohol consumption in the world, so even special sorts can soon turn to be sufficient. In this connection the dynamic American hop market is already facing some problems. EU hop producers have become more cautious, they are not racing to exceed the demand and look forward with more confidence, judging by the contract terms. 

Hop Market in Russia

Germany still dominates the Russian market, yet over the recent two years one has been able observe a continuous success of Czech hop suppliers. Their expansion and growing popularity of hops from the United States became the drivers of supplies growth in 2016 despite the preceding modest harvest crop in the EU, as well as the factor of relative stability in 2017. In this connection, in 2017, the ratio of the varieties continued to shift towards the aroma ones, and the supplies of Magnum hop and other alpha varieties were reduced. However, the import of bitter hop pellets is partially replaced by extracts, especially from the major beer manufacturers. Total volumes of alpha acid supplies, according to our estimation, decreased by approximately 5% and returned to the level of 2015. Barth Haas Group continues dominating the hop products market; HVG also increased its weight. At the same time, Morris Hanbury significantly reduced the supplies in 2017.

EU court scraps Grolsch 32 mln euro antitrust fine

* Not sufficient proof of parent company's liability
* Court ruling may force changes in EU fining policy
* Court had cut Heineken, Bavaria antitrust fines in June

Brewer Grolsch, part of SABMiller , will not have to pay a 31.7-million-euro ($43.32 million) EU antitrust fine because regulators failed to prove the parent company's liability, an EU court ruled on Thursday.

The ruling by the Luxembourg-based General Court could force the European Commission to revise its fining policy, which puts the onus on parent companies for violations by their subsidiaries.

In practice this means regulators take the parent company's global turnover into account when setting fines, which could result in a hefty figure.

Grolsch had argued that its subsidiary Grolsche Bierbrouwerij Nederland BV, and not the parent company, was liable for the violations as staff from the unit were involved in the cartel.

The court, Europe's second-highest, backed Grolsch, saying the EU regulator had denied the parent company a chance to challenge its presumption.

"The Court ... concludes that the evidence available to the Commission was not sufficient to establish the direct participation of Koninklijke Grolsch in the cartel," the court said.

"The Commission failed to explain, in the decision, its reasons for attributing to Koninklijke Grolsch NV the conduct of its subsidiary."

The court had in June cut regulatory fines levied on Dutch peers Heineken and Bavaria four years ago for fixing beer prices in the Netherlands, saying regulators did not have sufficient proof of wrongdoing.

The European Commission said the cartel operated between 1996 and 1999. ($1=.7317 Euro)

16 Sep. 2011



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