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4-2017

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.

‘King’ can maker Rexam has high hopes for Russian 75cl move

Rexam has revealed that it will produce Europe’s first 75cl can, first launched onto the Russian and Eastern European markets at the end of 2011, and says the product also has promise further west.

Cans developed with client Baltika Breweries will be made at Rexam’s plant in Naro-Fominsk, Russia, and are designed for the beer market, although they are also suited to other drink varieties.

Craig Jones, General Director for Rexam Russia, said: “The 75cl can is the next logical step for beverage cans in Russia. We first introduced the 33cl can in Russia in 1998 and since then a majority of beers have moved to 50cl packaging, following a demand for a larger size beer packaging.”

Jones said that packaging group Rexam launched its first 1l ‘King’ can in 2007, but beer producers were now seeing demand for something a can between 50cl and 1l.

The 1l cans are also made at Naro-Fominsk, and Rexam said that existing lines there would be adapted slightly to produce the 75cl offering, made using the same manufacturing techniques.

We asked Rexam whether it thought such a large product had potential in Western Europe, and whether there was demand or interest in such sizes here?

Western European potential

Mark Bunker, sector communications manager at Rexam Beverage Can Europe and Asia told BeverageDaily.com: “Although the 75cl can has been created for the Russian market, to accommodate a demand for a size can between standard and the King can, we believe the 75cl can certainly has potential in Western Europe.

“The successful launch of our 1l can in Germany and Norway in 2011 is proof that there is a demand for all types of cans across the European market. “

1l cans first hit the Russian market in 2011, and Bunker said their popularity proved that consumers liked the option of a larger size, encouraging Rexam’s clients to release it in Germany and Norway.

New can sizes were popular right across Europe, Bunker added, with brand owners looking to differentiate packaging in a bid to drive sales in a competitive market.

As well as making a real impact at point of sale, 75cl and 1 litre cans also provided considerable surface space to display branding messages and provide an eye-catching design, he said.

Suitability beyond beer

Pressed as to whether he thought unwonted media or regulatory attention might deter drinks firms here from adopting such products, Bunker said:

“Rexam partners with its customers and suppliers to bring innovation to the market. In doing so, Rexam explores attitudes and behaviours across a wide variety of geographies and consumer groups whilst of course respecting and working within local, national and international regulations.”

The 75cl can was also suited to a wide range of other carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, Bunker said, which is available with all of Rexam’s value-added finishes.

Bunker said: “[It] can be used as a regular addition to a product range, or can be used as a limited edition or promotional can to make a real impact at point of sale.”

19 Jan. 2012

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