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.
Light Beer Fights for Life as Craft Brews Invade Shelves
McBrien was sketching out plans to resurrect light beer, a $50 billion market battling to stay relevant as makers of craft beer, wine and spirits increasingly steal customers from Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP), SABMiller Plc (SAB) and Anheuser-Busch Inbev NV. (ABI)
Light beer is ceding ground as cabernet-loving baby boomers and millennials weaned on exotic cocktails seek more complex flavors in their brews. High unemployment among light beer drinkers also has prompted some to drink less or switch to cheaper brews. In a bid to return the froth to light beer, the U.S. joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller last week unveiled new advertising for a key brand, Miller Lite.
If the companies can’t revive the brand, “we’ve got big trouble ahead of us,” said Bump Williams, whose Stratford, Connecticut-based BWC Co. advises more than 100 beer retailers and distributors. “Light beer has become a commodity.”
The new Miller Lite ads will revive the brewer’s classic tagline, “It’s Miller Time.” Aimed at men in their 20s and 30s, the campaign will tone down outdated talk of carbs and calories in favor of a “brewed for brotherhood” theme. The brand will spend 50 percent more on media during the crucial summer selling season.
“Miller Time is all about real friends getting together over a real beer,” MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England said in an interview. “We’re going to articulate that with a kind of Midwestern grit that can only come from Miller Lite.”
Light beer, an American invention, took hold in 1975, when Miller Brewing Co. became the first to distribute a low-calorie beer nationwide. Now four of the five best-selling suds in the U.S. are light beers, including Leuven, Belgium-based Anheuser’s Bud Light and MillerCoors’ Coors Light.
Still, as consumers turn to more exciting alternatives, U.S. beer sales volumes have dropped for three straight years, including a 1.5 percent decline in 2011, according to the Beverage Information Group, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based researcher. Coors Light -- the only Top 5 U.S. beer still growing -- posted a 1 percent increase last year, the same as in 2010.
The shift has retailers stocking more wine and spirits. Beer lost 2.3 share points of display space during the past five years as spirits and wine gained, according to Nick Lake, senior director of category management for Heineken NV (HEIA) in the U.S. in Atlanta, who cited Nielsen data.
“Our competition has convinced retailers that their categories are providing more value and have more relevance with the consumer,” Lake said at an industry conference hosted last month by Beer Business Daily in San Diego.
Miller Lite has always sought broad appeal, with early television ads featuring athletes pitching the brew as “Everything You always Wanted in a Beer. And Less.” New York Yankees baseball legends George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin later argued over whether it was better to say the beer “tastes great” or was “less filling.”
By the mid-2000s, craft beer’s rise made it harder for light beers to make a case for taste. They tried anyway. In 2008, Miller Lite brought back the “Great Taste, Less Filling” idea in its advertising amid falling sales. Anheuser-Busch went with the tagline “Drinkability,” a brewer’s term used to describe beer that goes down easy.
The following year, Miller Lite advertised itself as “triple hops brewed for great pilsner taste,” as more Americans discovered more heavily hopped craft beers such as New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Fat Tire. Miller followed that up with its “Taste Greatness” campaign. Sales didn’t recover.
Coors Light has grown while largely staying away from taste claims, focusing instead on what it calls “Rocky Mountain Cold refreshment.” Coors Light used special ink on cans to show when the beer was at its optimal temperature.
The industry also has attempted to juice sales with packaging innovations, such as wide-mouth screw top cans, aluminum bottles and wide-mouthed vented cans. Now Anheuser is turning to higher alcohol content with the January introduction of Bud Light Platinum, featuring 6 percent alcohol, compared with 4.2 percent for regular Bud Light.
Miller Lite will ship new cans by Labor Day that have darker, more masculine blue graphics. Other cans will have a perforated second opening that will have to be punched out with a tool of the drinker’s choice, because millennial guys “like to tinker,” England said. The opening will allow the beer to flow more like a glass, he said.
Miller Lite focused on its buddy theme after research revealed that sociability was high on beer drinkers’ minds. England said the campaign will go beyond Bud Light’s more generic “here we go” advertising, by focusing on close friends, not just acquaintances.
“We’re going to kill it,” England said. “Obviously, I’d like to see some immediate results, but what’s more important is sustainable improvement.”
28 Mar. 2012