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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.

UK’s Cameron favours minimum alcohol price-report

Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered officials to draw up plans to set a minimum price for alcohol to discourage excessive drinking, a British newspaper reported on Wednesday, although the government said no decision has been taken.

The Daily Telegraph said the officials have been told to develop a scheme to prevent the sale of alcohol in shops in England at below 40 to 50 pence (63 to 79 U.S. cents) per unit.

That could lead to sharp price rises, particularly for cider and some spirits.

The Scottish government has already announced plans to set a minimum price to tackle alcohol abuse, which kills thousands of Britons each year.

The British government could decide either to copy the Scottish proposals in England or to introduce a system of taxes based on the number of units of alcohol in a drink, the report said.

Both options would cost drinkers an additional 700 million pounds ($1.1 billion) a year, with any extra tax revenue potentially going to the state-run National Health Service, it said.

A government spokesman said the coalition would continue to review all available evidence on how to tackle alcohol abuse.

"Our alcohol strategy, which we will set out shortly, will outline what further steps we are taking to tackle this problem. No decisions have been made," the spokesman said.

The Daily Telegraph quoted a government source as saying Cameron was "keen on the minimum price", but said the Business Department had warned that forcing firms to charge a minimum price could be illegal under European Union law. It said the government would publish its alcohol strategy in February.

Kristin Wolfe, head of alcohol policy at global brewing giant SABMiller, said the company supported the British government's aim of tackling problem drinking, but said minimum pricing would be "ineffective, unfair and illegal."

"The evidence shows that minimum pricing will hardly affect the consumption of hazardous and harmful drinkers, but will hit the vast majority who drink responsibly and in moderation," Wolfe said in a statement.

Extra tax revenue could be attractive for the government, which has embarked on an austerity plan to curb a big budget deficit.

Britain's health cost watchdog urged the government last year to set a minimum price for alcohol and consider an advertising ban to reduce alcohol abuse.

The former Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown, rejected a call from Britain's chief medical officer in 2009 to set a minimum price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol.

30 Dec. 2011



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