The beer market dynamics in Russia is approaching zero, yet major brewers are divided into those who developed considerably in 2017 and those who considerably reduced their volumes. For instance, company Efes has managed to substantially extend their sales due to restrained pricing policy and activity in the modern trade. Heineken has also demonstrated an excellent performance promoted by significant increase of advertisement budgets launching a non-alcohol sort of the title brand and unusual activity in the economy market segment. Carlsberg and AB InBev have been focusing on margins and lost a market share of their inexpensive brands. Serious dependence on PET package and mass enthusiasm about Zhigulevskoe have negatively impacted the most of big regional brewers, that have been for the first time pressed by the leaders in the key sales channels, especially in Volga and Central regions. In the small business there has been a noticeable slowdown in appearing of new restaurant breweries, yet the number of craft breweries has been growing rapidly. In 2018, the beer market is likely to grow a little, while the share of AB InBev Efes may decrease due to the integration. ...
“Catalogue of Russian Beer Producers 2018” includes 1070 businesses ranging from large subsidiaries of international companies to rather small restaurant and craft microbreweries.The catalogue includes 32 large breweries, 75 regional breweries, 693 industrial mini- and microbreweries as well as 270 restaurant breweries. ...
Global hop marketA 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 RussiaGermany 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.
Italian beer: a new sparkle
Traditionally, if you were looking for good beer in Italy, there was only one thing you could drink: wine. The country is dominated by two huge bland lager brands, Peroni and Moretti, and even its dark rossa beers offer little excitement.
In the last decade, however, there has been a huge change. Craft beer has taken off in a big way. Italy now has 360 microbreweries and, from nothing, real beer has come to account for 2% of total Italian beer sales.
Particularly up north, it is now relatively easy to find good beer. Visiting Genoa in September, I arrived to find the Super Birra festival taking place on the waterfront. In Venice, Milan and around Lake Como, a minority of the better bars and wine shops now carry interesting local creations, while hardcore hop-heads can hunt out brewpubs such as Milan's Birrificio Lambrate and the Eataly food stores, which serve beers from Italy's foremost craft breweries including Le Baladin and Birra del Borgo. Likewise, Rome now has several first-rate beer bars and bottle shops.
Many of these beers are now widely available in Britain, too. You'll find them in Manchester's Port Street Beer House, Calls Landing in Leeds, London's Draft Houses and Cask Pub & Kitchen, as well as several Italian restaurants. Nonna's, in Sheffield, just held an Italian artisan beer evening and even Italian chain Zizzi is involved. It now stocks Amarcord's La Gradisca (?4) a crisp, lightly cloudy, slightly grainy beer that hovers in that hinterland between lager and very pale ale.
This is some turnaround considering that in the mid-1990s there was almost no craft beer brewed commercially in Italy. Pioneers Birrificio Lambrate, Birrificio Italiano and Le Baladin's influential owner Matterino "Teo" Musso only started brewing in 1996. Now, a new microbrewery opens every few weeks; 140 were founded between 2008 and 2010.
Davide Bertinotti, secretary of Movimento Birrario Italiano (MoBI), a consumer organisation similar to CAMRA, says that there are many reasons why craft beer has taken off:
"[It] originally started in 1995, when the Italian parliament passed a bill that made homebrewing legal and simplified some procedures for brewpubs. The explosion came from many factors: a shift from high alcohol - wine - to lower alcohol but flavourful drink consumption, and a new awareness of avoiding drinking and driving; searching for healthy and genuine food and drinks; and the fact that, in Italy, we do not have a beer tradition. What's new is also fashionable!"
While many of the better Italian beers - del Borgo's ReAle and its Trentatre Ambrata, or Morgana - are big, fruity, heavily-hopped beers in the American style, Italian brewers also pride themselves on bold experimentation. Using unusual local ingredients, such as chestnuts or the heritage durum wheat Senatore Cappelli to give beers a specific Italian twist, is commonplace. La Superba flavours its Genova "lager" with Ligurian basil - all powerful pine and resin notes, it is best described as "challenging".
There is also plenty of cross pollination occurring between beer and established wine production techniques. At Le Baladin, Italian beer's mad professor, Teo Musso (known, among other things for playing music to his beers, claiming it helps his yeasts grow) experiments with ageing beer in old wooden wine barriques, when he isn't adding whisky yeasts, liquorice or smoked Lapsang Souchong to his (sometimes oxidised) beers.
The one downside to all this creativity is that the beers produced are notoriously expensive. Brewers, Baladin included, have certainly pushed the idea that beer is a high-end alternative to wine, packaging it in 75cl bottles and getting it into restaurants. "Baladin bottles are sold at €12 in beer shops, but you can find them in restaurants at €15-18 per bottle," says Bertinotti.
Still, the enthusiasm for Italian beers continues to build. The owner of Port Street Beer House, Jonny Heyes, reports trying "some cracking Italian beers" at this year's Great British Beer Festival from the Revelation Cat, Elav and Extraomnes breweries. But what are your favourite Italian beers, and which other unexpected countries are currently home to exciting craft brewing scenes?
13 Oct. 2011