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.
10+1 trends of Russian beer market 2015-2017Despite of the moderately negative prognoses for 2017, the beer market can be stabilized soon. Yet the years of the negative dynamics have resulted in marketing being limited just to “optimization” and the art of balancing between price and volumes. Bigger supermarkets share means stronger trade marketing. These processes are connected to the majority of the described trends. At the same time, the federal brands inflation leads to searching for new tastes, sales channels and contact formats that expand the product range and diversify the beer market, but do not imply a substantial volume increase. Let us enumerate and further discuss the ten trends of the beer market we can see in 2015-2017 as well as the major event of 2017.
Beer market of Ukraine 2017In the first half of 2017, the Ukrainian beer market goes on decreasing slowly. Yet, the companies manage to compensate their lost volumes by raising prices and improving the sales structures. This results in the mid price market segment reduction while the sales of premium brands are rising. These processes are connected to position strengthening of companies Carlsberg Group and Oasis and the market share reduction of Obolon. Most of the novelties by the market leaders belong to craft or hard lemon categories.
Beer market of Russia 2016: PET goes to draftThe beer market of Russia was warmed up by the hot summer, but the preparation for large volume PET prohibition has already impacted it negatively. The year was successful for Efes, MBC and regional producers; Carlsberg’s positions were virtually stable but AB InBev and Heineken lost a part of market share having focused on the sales profitability. The dynamics of big brands was determined by how much the companies were willing to keep the prices down or by their promotional activity. In this context the economy segment of the beer market and sales of inexpensive draft beer were increasing. The premium segment started shrinking due to license brands migrating to the mainstream segment.
US. Craft beer is about going local, but it’s also about going creative
Since the Brewers Association was in Washington in June and hosted a panel on "The American Craft Beer Revolution" at the National Press Club on June 3, we've been fascinated with the ingenuity of the sector. The Brewers Association is a trade group for small and independent U.S. beer brewers, which promotes craft beers and the craft beer community that imbibes. It says its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in America.
The panel discussion was introduced with a rat-a-tat-tat of absorbing facts about craft beer (the growth of craft brewers is accelerating, the U.S. brewery count is the highest since the 19th century, large brewers' sales are declining but profits are at record levels, retailers are expanding shelf space for craft beers even as some of the small brewers are struggling to satisfy demand, beer drinkers have a PASSION for craft). Brew pubs are getting into packaging for off-premises sales, the BA said. Nano breweries (the craft of the craft?) are sprouting all over. Microbreweries are relying on tasting rooms to build sales (at the time, there were 56 microbreweries that sell more than 25 percent of their beer onsite that way).
More than 24 percent of the growth in craft breweries is happening in the Southeast.
And, importantly, millennials identify with craft beer.
That probably explains the creativity on display with the brewery names, not to mention what's on tap. And with a statistic like this one - according to one of the panelists - that is bound to come in handy someday: 13 percent of consumers walk into a liquor store NOT knowing the brand they are looking for.
Panelists represented Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Md., Dogfish Head Brewery of Milton, Del., Sierra Nevada Brewing of Chico, Calif., and Lost Abbey/Port Brewing of San Marcos, Calif. (whose website says the company was "imagined as part of a crusade in this ongoing story of Good vs. Evil beer."
What's not to love about just the company names, never mind some of the brews! For the season, Dogfish offers "Hellhound on My Ale," for instance.
If you don't have it bookmarked already, you might want to stash craftbeer.com in your favorites and check back for features and updates, along with calendar listings for beer weeks all over the country.
And now, what others have been saying about craft beer and some of their favorites.
From John Tanasychuk of the Sun Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.:
Blame Canada - where I spent the first three decades of my life - for my affinity for beer.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that some of my favorite brews - Steam Whistle Pilsner, anyone? - are near impossible to find in the U.S.
So I'm delighted that South Floridians have finally jumped on the beer wagon. Here are five of my favorite U.S. beers. Look for them in a beer hall near you.
MONK IN THE TRUNK: This organic amber ale is made by Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, S.C., for the Inlet Brewing Company in Jupiter. As you'd expect, it's copper - almost orange - in color. I call it an American version of classic Belgian ale with a spicy touch.
BROOKLYN LAGER: My first taste of this lager from Brooklyn Brewery was more than a dozen years ago at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. The cold brown bottle and the striking Maxfield Parrish murals above the bar were a welcome respite from the summer heat. Smooth and refreshing, it's a great introduction to craft beer.
BELL'S OBERON ALE: I lived for 10 years in Michigan, and among the things made there that I fell in love with is this wheat ale. Its crisp clean taste and almost citrus finish makes it a great South Florida beer, where it's always summer.
BOCA BLONDE LAGER: You gotta love that Boca Raton's Brewzzi honors the blond women of Boca with what is its most popular creation. Brewzzi brew master Fran Adrewlevich says most brew pubs find lighter beers to be the most popular. This one is a light and refreshing, perfect Florida beer.
JAI ALAI IPA: Made by Tampa's Cigar City Brewing, a trip to the west coast isn't complete without a stop in the brewery's informal tasting room. Since Jai Alai is made with six different hops, it starts off a bit bitter and then turns smooth and citrusy. At 7.5 percent, it's also higher in alcohol than most beer.
From Barry Shlachter of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas:
If the "most interesting man in the world" in those Dos Equis ads really knew his suds, there's something right here in Texas that would knock his socks off.
Blanco, Texas' Real Ale Brewing, the little Hill Country brewery that could, produces a seasonal Belgian abbey-style triple ale called Devil's Backbone, which is made with Czech Saaz hops, Flemish yeast and in-house made brewing candy sugar. For my money, this is one of the most delicious beers crafted in North America.
Devil's Back Bone is the sort of ale to serve when you want to prove to wine snobs that a beer can be as sophisticated, complex and satisfying as most vintage reds.
My only complaint is that Real Ale doesn't make it year-round.
It pours a slightly hazy amber hue - don't serve it too cold - with beautiful lacing left as you drain your snifter or chalice or tulip glass. Before you do, enjoy the honey sweet aroma. Then, the taste notes spell out cognac-marinated dried fruit, among other flavors. But it's relatively light beverage on the palate.
This seasonal shows up in hot weather. But this is a deceptively potent drink - at 8.1 percent alcohol by volume. So drink it slowly, savor every sip, and don't operate heavy machinery under the Texas sun afterward. It retails for about $10 a sixpack, a bargain for the artisanship.
(MCT note: Craftbeer.com is currently featuring a brewery on its site that is similarly named: Devils Backbone Brewing Co., which is based in Roseland, Va.)
From Rob Manker of the Chicago Tribune:
In what could be seen as an attempt to mimic the local marketing success of Goose Island's popular 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Anheuser-Busch InBev as of this summer had filed applications to trademark the signature area codes of 15 U.S. cities.
Chicago-based Goose Island parent Fulton Street Brewery LLC, acquired by Anheuser-Busch as part of a $38.8 million deal earlier this year, holds registered trademarks on "312 Urban Wheat" and "312 Urban Wheat Ale Goose Island Chicago." When the acquisition was announced, Anheuser-Busch pledged to pump $1.3 million into boosting Goose Island's brewing capacity.
Now, a search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's online database shows that on May 20, Anheuser-Busch filed applications to trademark: "704" (Charlotte, N.C.), "216" (Cleveland), "214" (Dallas), "303" (Denver), "713" (Houston), "702" (Las Vegas), "305" (Miami), "615" (Nashville, Tenn.), "215" (Philadelphia), "602" (Phoenix), "412" (Pittsburgh), "619" (San Diego), "415" (San Francisco), "314" (St. Louis) and "202" (Washington).
Scott Slavick, who specializes in trademark law at Chicago-based intellectual property firm Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, says the intent of Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev appears clear.
"My guess is they want to come out with sort of local-sounding beer products," Slavick said. "People enjoy thinking that they're getting beer from a particular area."
And those products, Slavick said, could show up any time, trademark or no.
"If the patent and trademark office says you're OK and no third parties have a problem with it, then you get what's called a notice of allowance. Then you have three years from that date to demonstrate use of your mark in order to get it registered.
"The fact that they filed on an intent-to-use basis doesn't mean that they couldn't already be using these marks or intend to come out with them at any time."
News of the applications was first reported by Craft Business Daily, a beer industry publication.
Goose Island launched 312 in 2004, though founder and then-CEO John Hall disagreed with his brewmaster son, Greg, over the name. The father insisted the beer carry the Goose Island moniker, the Tribune later reported, while the younger Hall wanted a name that unmistakably linked the new brew to its home city. Hence, "312" was born and quickly went on to become the company's top seller. In 2009, it was listed as the No. 2-selling craft beer in Chicago behind only Samuel Adams Boston Lager, according to industry stats.
Anheuser-Busch confirmed the applications but would not say what it intends to do with the names.
From J.M. Brown of the Santa Cruz Sentinel in Santa Cruz, Calif., reporting this summer on the Hop N Barley Festival held July 2 in Scotts Valley, Calif.:
Michael Zaballos, a Santa Cruz County resident and area sales manager for Heineken USA, said beer festivals do indeed attract a younger set than wine-centered events. On Saturday, he was offering ice-cold Newcastle, a Heineken product from Scotland that makes four seasonal brews.
"When people enter the drinking age, they usually drink beer first," he said as one college-aged person after another lined up outside the festival to have their IDs checked and get a souvenir glass for the five-hour event.
In recent years, with the growing popularity of microbreweries, Zaballos said interest in beer making has taken off. Santa Cruz demonstrated that it is not just a wine-making region, with decidedly local companies, Corralitos Brewing Co. and Seabright Brewery, mixed in among nationally known brands such as Sierra Nevada and Anderson Valley Brewing.
"Beer drinkers know their beers like wine drinkers know their stuff," Zaballos said.
Amber Hughes of Santa Cruz is not a beer connoisseur but fell head over heels for the Raspberry Wheat from St. Louis-based Shock Top.
"That could make me a beer drinker," she said.
Friend Alex Keyser of Santa Cruz, one of a group of 10 buddies that came together, said he appreciated Saturday's relaxed atmosphere, compared to some wine events that carry an air of pretense. He brought his sons Josh, 4, and Liam, 3, to roll around in the warm sun.
"Everyone is out to have fun, not compare their wine knowledge," he said.
2 Nov. 2011