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.
US. Craft brewers turn to local ‘wet hops’ for special beers
Sure, it involved 90 minutes of continually tossing handfuls of hops into a brewing kettle.
But the finished beer's more flavorful taste from using hops just picked fresh from the vine made the extra work worthwhile, said Paul Graham, a co-owner at Central Waters Brewing Co.
"These days, hoppy beers, bitter beers, are pretty popular," Graham said. "While it might be an acquired taste, a lot of people have acquired it."
Central Waters, in Amherst, recently joined forces with four other Wisconsin craft brewers, including Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery Inc. and Glendale-based Sprecher Brewing Co., to create a limited run of beers using so-called "wet hops" grown in the Badger State.
Those are hops that are harvested and then promptly used, sometimes within hours, in the brewing process.
The majority of hops used to brew beer are "dry hops," which are harvested in the Pacific Northwest, quickly dried and then typically converted into pellets, which allows for much cheaper shipping costs and much longer storage times.
Using wet hops is something you're more likely see demonstrated in a pioneer village exhibit.
The advantage of using wet hops is that it produces a fresher, more authentic taste, said Jon Reynolds, managing director of the Midwest Hops and Barley Co-op, a growers organization based in Onalaska.
"People always ask, 'What was beer like 100 years ago?' " said Russ Klisch, Lakefront Brewery owner. "Well, that's probably what it was like."
Sprecher's wet hops beer is a version of its flagship Special Amber brand, with the hops providing flavor notes reminiscent of green bananas, said Jeff Hamilton, Sprecher president.
"The people who are really into craft beer are snapping it up," he said.
A targeted market
There's a marketing advantage by aiming the beers at people who are willing to pay premiums for locally made foods and beverages.
"You are growing (the hops) in local farms, and you are delivering them to a craft brewer, which is local," Rey nolds said.
This month, the co-op and the five Wisconsin brewers began marketing the wet-hops beers with a focus on their locally grown ingredients.
Each beer's label includes a reference to the four other wet hops beers and lists the hops growers: Stettin-Wokatsch Hop Farm, Wausau; Marathon County-Krautkramer Hop Farm, Marathon City; Trzeb's Back 40 Hop Farm, Amherst; and Fine Bine Hop Farm, Rosholt.
The hops are a second crop for some of the farmers, or a way to supplement their income from their day jobs.
Ryan Trzebiatowski, of Trzeb's Back 40 Hop Farm, works as an engineer at Greenheck Fan Corp. in Schofield and has been growing hops since 2009 "as another thing to do."
"We just keep adding a little bit to it every year," he said.
The brewers, and their wet hops beers, are: Central Waters Brewing, Wisconsin Harvest Wet Hop Ale; Lakefront Brewery, Local Acre Wisconsin Wet Hop Lager; Sprecher Brewery, Hopfuzion Wisconsin Fresh Hop Lager; Bull Falls Brewery, Wausau, Wisconsin Hop Worthy Amber Ale; and South Shore Brewery, Ashland, Wisconsin Bitter Blonde Wet Hopped Ale.
The beers, which are available at all five Trig's supermarkets in central and northern Wisconsin, plus Discount Liquor and Ray's Wine and Spirits in the Milwaukee area, have been big sellers.
"It's got quite a following," said T.J. Tucker, general manager at Ray's, 8930 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa. "Hops are always the craze."
At Discount Liquor, a 22-ounce bottle of the Wisconsin wet hops beer is priced at $4.99 and $5.99, depending on the specific brand.
From farm to kettle
Other brewers make wet hops beers, including Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale. Closer to home, wet hops beers include Wet, from Surly Brewing Co., based in the Minneapolis area.
But both of those beers use hops harvested in Washington, where most domestic hops are grown, and then quickly shipped to the breweries. The Wisconsin brewers use hops from farms that are located in the same state, at most maybe two to three hours away.
Central Waters used wet hops from all four co-op growers, with those farms all within about a 45-minute drive from the brewery. Graham figures there's about a 12-hour window to use the hops once they're picked.
The pale ale brewed by Central Waters with wet hops features a concentrated flavor, rather than one balanced with the beer's malt flavor, Graham said.
Central Waters brewed 300 cases of Wisconsin Harvest Wet Hop Ale. That's a small amount for a brewery that typically sells 3,000 cases of beer each week.
But the main reason for the small amount is the lack of locally grown wet hops, Graham said. He and other brewers hope the Wisconsin growers will increase their production.
As for the brewing process, Graham laughed when asked if it was "fun." He was the guy who continually dropped the fresh hops into the brewing kettle over 90 minutes.
" 'Fun' is an interesting word to use," Graham said. "It's fun because it adds a little variety to a normal production day. But it's very difficult to do."
Graham also said there was no hesitation in marketing the five beers in a joint effort.
"The majority of craft brewers operate on the notion that a rising tide lifts all boats," Graham said. "While we might be competing for the same (store) shelf space, we really are trying to raise the profile for the entire craft beer industry."
27 Nov. 2012