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. Hop Farmers Reviving Heady Days of Brewing
“Are you familiar with the hop barns of Madison County?” his wife, Karen, asked from the back seat.
She was referring not to some steamy romance novel, but to a romantic past: the days when hop barns, those squat, often turretlike structures housing charcoal fires, perfumed the air of central New York with the scent of drying hops. Resinous flowers that give beer its bitterness and flavors of pine, herbs and fruit, hops were a huge part of the local economy in the late 19th century, when New York State grew up to 90 percent of the nation’s supply. But the business withered as beer production became industrialized.
Nearly a century later, the Katleskis and other farmers and craft brewers are trying to revive the region’s hop culture, harnessing the current passion for all things local and artisanal. Just as they and brewers around the country are turning to barley, wheat and other ingredients grown locally, New York beer makers are increasingly using local hops. Some, like the Ithaca Beer Company and Brown’s Brewing Company in Troy, are planning next year to open so-called farm breweries that will raise the crop themselves.
Here in a small organic garden, Mr. Katleski has been growing hops for the Empire Brewing Company, his brewpub in nearby Syracuse, since 2009, and he hopes someday to brew using only local ingredients. The two hop barns he plans to build in the spring will be largely decorative, forming the facade of his Empire Farmstead Brewery, a 20,000-square-foot production and canning center flanked by hop trellises and vegetable gardens — a sort of hop chateau.
Wine terminology is not out of place. Dozens of hop varieties, some scarce and highly sought after, are used in brewing around the world, and connoisseurs say they lend flavors and aromas to beer that are as distinctive and varied as those that grapes and soils give to wine. Mr. Katleski, president of the New York State Brewers Association, said that although New York brewers sometimes use local examples of hop varieties grown in, say, the Pacific Northwest, their beers taste vastly different.
“What I’m getting is a very fruit-forward or grapefruit-forward flavor from the hop, and less bitterness,” he said. “It kind of just comes from the natural terroir.”
So does much of the inspiration for a hop renaissance: Near several breweries lie the vineyards of the Finger Lakes, which have not only won an international reputation but also spawned a side business in tourism.
“We’re trying to create a beer culture in the area, much like you have a wine culture,” said Jeremiah Sprague, a home brewer and full-time vineyard employee who recently helped oversee the first major harvest at Climbing Bines Hop Farm in Penn Yan, which overlooks Seneca Lake. With his high-school friends Chris Hansen and Brian Karweck, Mr. Sprague is transforming the site into a farm brewery where hops will be grown and dried.
“The coolest thing we’re going to have,” he said, “is the ability to offer some estate-hopped ales,” the fruits of the roughly 1,500 hop plants the farm has already cultivated.
A principal goal of the revival effort is agritourism that demonstrates where the ingredients come from. Visitors to Climbing Bines will see that hop vines resemble bushy green telephone poles, and will taste the wide differences among varieties, from grapefruity Cascade to earthy Fuggles to intensely bitter Nugget. Education is even built into the farm’s name: Hop plants are not vines that climb with help from tendrils or suckers, but bines — stems that wrap in spirals around their supports.
Homegrown beers are not unique to New York. The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in California and Rogue Ales in Oregon have become known for “estate beers” containing their own hops and barley, a niche pioneered in the 1990s when several California wineries started breweries. Farm breweries have sprung up recently in the East, from New England to North Carolina.
But an unusual concentration of hop farms is emerging in New York, fueled by local history and embodied in a pastoral symbol: the hop barn, where farmers dried, stored and baled their crop for shipping as far away as England.
In 1889, The New York Sun reported a “mania” for hop farming: “A prominent hop-grower describes it as being simply the spirit of Wall Street carried afield.” The industry was destroyed by aphids and mildew, competition from the Pacific Northwest and Prohibition.
Becca Jablonski, a former agricultural specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County, said the New York hop revival began in 2000 when enthusiasts gathered to preserve the few remaining barns. Several growers formed the Northeast Hop Alliance, which had at most 10 members until last year, when its first big hop-farming workshop increased the ranks tenfold.
Steve Miller, whom the cooperative extension installed in May as New York’s first hop horticulture specialist, predicted that statewide acreage devoted to hops would more than double next year, to over 100 acres.
Many brewers are excited by the past they are restoring. Randy Lacey is building a classic pitched-roof hop barn near Ithaca to house his Hopshire Farm and Brewery, where he will use waste heat and a wood-fired boiler to dry his hops as traditionally as possible.
Mr. Katleski, meanwhile, has been working with State Senator David J. Valesky and Assemblyman William D. Magee to promote a bill, modeled on a 1976 law that jump-started the state’s wine industry, that would create a special license for farm breweries that use a designated percentage of New York-grown ingredients. The bill, which would reduce licensing costs and logistical barriers to tourism, has encountered no opposition, Mr. Valesky said.
Even if the legislation passes, the state’s farm brewing movement will be slow to develop. Hop plants take three years to reach maturity, and harvesting and processing equipment is scarce.
Still, the growers who have dabbled in hops, harvesting mostly by hand, say technology suited to their small farms is becoming more available.
Ultimately, what they are betting on is the sense of place that their products will convey, a selling point that is nowhere more evident than on the western shore of Seneca Lake. Sandwiched between vineyards, Climbing Bines Hop Farm slopes toward the water; a hop trellis fashioned from 150 black locust tree trunks stands postcard-ready.
“We’ll utilize what, specifically, this part of the world has to offer,” Mr. Karweck said. “Because we’ve traveled, and we’ve done some things, and we choose to call this place home.”
A Beer Sampler
Not sure how hops smell or taste? Here are a few widely available brews that hint at the many possibilities.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager The best-known American craft beer made with “noble hops,” central European varieties with floral, spicy aromas and minimal bitterness.
Bass Pale Ale A good example of the muted earthy, woody flavors and aromas associated with English hops.
Pilsner Urquell The spiciness of the Saaz hop, a noble Czech variety, complements the crisp, clean taste of this archetypal pilsner.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale The beer that popularized Cascade hops, whose piney, citrusy profile, which is typical of many American hop varieties, has made it a mainstay of domestic pale ales.
Stone India Pale Ale In West Coast IPA’s like this one, American hops add intense herbal and citrus fruit flavors and a pronounced bitterness.
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA A more restrained IPA typical of East Coast versions of the style, in which citrusy American hops are balanced by large doses of malt.
14 Nov. 2011