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.
Chinese Beer Drinkers Reject Heineken’s “Bitter Taste”
“In 2004, it bought a 21.87% stake in Kingway, which controlled 70% of the market in Shenzhen, and reported a net profit of HK$198 million (US$25.48 million) in what is considered the heyday of Heineken in China,” writes Want China Times.
But by 2006 the company was in trouble, losing market share to both international and local competitors even as Chinese beer consumption increased every year. What went wrong? And what does this mean for the expansion plans of other companies Chinese operations, like those of Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut/KFC? Want China Times quotes industry analysts who blame “outdated marketing skills” on the part of Heineken’s Chinese operators, and -- more damning -- the simple fact that consumers didn’t like the beer’s “bitter taste.”
As anyone who’s ever necked a sweet, malty bottle of Tsingtao -- China’s best-known beer brand -- with their dumplings can tell you: bitter isn’t what most Chinese want in their fizzy light-alcohol drinks. Beer’s growing popularity in that country is based in part on growing incomes, the adoption of beer as a socially acceptable “light” drink, intense price competition -- and maybe, just maybe, the fact that both Chinese and international beer manufacturers stopped using formaldehyde to prevent sedimentation after that practice was exposed by Chinese media in the early 2000s.
The retreat is a rare misstep for Heineken, who successfully operate hundreds of international brands and are currently fighting fierce turf battles with Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller over the emerging markets of Latin America and Asia. But it’s a war all foreign brewers will face in the all-important China market, which reached 450 million hectolitres of consumption last year -- double U.S. figures -- and is predicted to post growth rates of 5% over the next few years, compared to 2.5% growth rates globally. Local manufacturers are mounting a serious challenge to international brand names, particularly in the lucrative premium beer market, capitalizing on rising Chinese nationalism, huge existing distribution networks, a huge cost advantage, and more canny marketing.
The moral of this tale? Know your local market, and know your local team. Are they on top of their region? Are they keeping on top of the trends? Are they, for example, monitoring the progress of Panda Poo Tea -- the very latest trend in Chinese liquid consumption? At $80,000 a kilogram, it’s the world’s most expensive tea, featuring all sorts of health benefits, says its inventor, a Chinese professor at Sinchuan University, as well as “a mature, nutty taste and a very distinctive aroma while it’s brewing.” Pandas eat a lot of bamboo, explains professor An Yashi. “[They] have a very poor digestive system and only absorb about 30 percent of everything they eat. That means their excrement is rich in fibres and nutrients.”
Perhaps Heineken should check out the cost-effectiveness of getting a bear to crap in its brew?
17 Nov. 2011