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.
UK. Banned at home, Pakistan brewery seizes Hollywood moment
It was the arrest of the Hollywood stars' daughter in New York with a can of Murree Brewery's (MUBR.KA) beer last June that propelled the company out of obscurity and into the spotlight.
Inundated with emails asking about its beer, Murree Brewery seized on the free publicity to launch expansion plans outside the Muslim nation, where alcohol is banned and those that do drink can become targets of Taliban militants and other Islamist fundamentalists.
Five months since the arrest, the 150-year-old company says it has lined up distributors that could see its flagship beer arrive on liquor store shelves in the United States and Dubai as early as the first quarter of next year.
"Demi Moore and Bruce Willis' daughter gave us multi-million dollars worth of publicity by default. We plan to go to the United States and make a queue to hug both the daughter and the mother," Sabih ur Rehman, special assistant to the chief executive, joked with Reuters.
Murree Brewery, established in 1860 by British colonial rulers to supply beer to their troops, is desperately looking for business overseas to hedge against its uncertain domestic market. Prohibition was imposed in Pakistan in 1977, and non-Muslims and foreigners must obtain a government permit to purchase alcohol at designated retailers, mainly upscale hotels.
It also produces a line of juices and non-alcoholic drinks, but is prohibited from advertising its beer, whisky, gin and other liquor products.
Relying on word of mouth and an influx of thirsty diplomats and foreign investors, annual alcohol sales have grown an average of 20 percent over the past five years, reaching $26.8 million (16.9 million pounds) in the 2012 financial year. The company's stock is up 175 percent so far this year, trading at 160 rupees on November 13, far outpacing the 42 percent rise in the Karachi Stock Exchange .KSE benchmark 100-share index.
Despite its strong sales, the company's net profit after taxes rose a mere 1 percent year-on-year to 525 million Pakistan rupees (3.45 million pounds) for the year ended June 30, due to an increase in alcohol taxes and rising labour costs.
LIVING IN FEAR
Murree Brewery's chief executive, Isphanyar Bhandara, lives in constant fear that authorities will shut down alcohol production at any moment as Pakistan drifts towards a more conservative interpretation of Islam.
"Pakistan is moving more and more to the right. That is not good for Pakistan and not good for us," said the 39-year-old executive at his office in Rawalpindi, a military city just outside the capital, Islamabad
"Each day we are allowed to survive, that is a blessing."
The brewery, which employs 1,100 people, is located within the headquarters of the Pakistani Army and across the street from the residences of the country's top military commanders, making it arguably the most protected brewery in the world.
To ensure survival, it has turned to a European brewery to produce its beer for overseas consumption due to a government ban on alcohol exports, which was eased just recently.
The Pakistani brewery said it has reached an agreement with the Czech Republic's Zatec Brewery initially to produce at least 5,000 cases, each containing 24 bottles of Murree Beer, annually from next year. That amount will double in 2015, Rehman said.
However, the managing director of Zatec Brewery, Martin Kec, said he knew nothing of this arrangement and his firm had only produced a very small amount of Murree Beer in the past.
Murree Brewery also said it has lined up distributors in Texas, Dubai and Denmark to market and sell its lager under franchise agreements, and is looking for partners in Britain and other European countries. "We are virgins and we are looking for husbands," said Bhandara, whose family is from the country's non-Muslim Parsi minority.
But Murree Beer faces a difficult road as a new player in the crowded U.S. and European markets, dominated by the industry's "big four" -- Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), SABMiller (SAB.L), Heineken (HEIN.AS) and Carlsberg (CARLb.CO).
The company's last attempt to break into Western markets failed after it was forced to end its partnership with an Austrian brewery due to high costs and logistical problems.
Analysts say a few tabloid headlines will not be enough to be successful and Murree will also need a multi-million-dollar promotional campaign. It is also unclear the type of consumer they are trying to sell their beer to, since most Pakistanis living abroad are Muslim and unlikely to drink alcohol.
"They are never going to be anything but a very niche player. It's unlikely they will be able to push as hard as major brewers with their own niche lagers," said a London-based stock analyst, who asked not to be identified because he did not cover Murree Brewery.
But company officials are hopeful, particularly for the U.S. market. "Americans will drink anything. They are like fish," Rehman said.
16 Nov. 2012