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 cider market set to ‘explode’ – C&C Group
Shore Capital analyst Phil Carroll, in a note on a C&C investor day held in the UK, wrote that CEO Stephen Glancey and finance director Kenny Neison had spent four years stabilizing the plc. (key cider brands Bulmers, Magners) and were now moving on to the ‘transform’ phase.
Praising C&C’s “high quality” management team, Carroll calculated that the company had further acquisitive firepower – namely a war chest of over €100m ($130m) based on a balance sheet leverage level (debt ratio relative to total assets) of 1.5x that has the potential to rise to 2.5x.
“Arguably, there is already clear evidence of the commencement of this stage with the recent acquisitions (subject to competition authorities’ approval) of the [craft-based] Vermont Hard Cider Company (VHCC) and the Gleeson Group,” Carroll wrote.
Shore Capital said that C&C had a significant international opportunity, especially for its cider business, but added that Tennent’s beer also had strong potential as an export brand, and was already sold abroad in Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Canada and the US.
Specifically in the US, C&C management said that its US acquisitions provided access to a market that was about to ‘explode’, a trend the Shore Capital analyst agreed with.
“This looks to be confirmed, in our view, by the recent market data showing cider volumes up 57% in the past six months and more recently up 81% in the past month,” Carroll said.
Cannibalization ‘should’ be limited
Although cider only account for around 0.3% of the long alcoholic drinks market in the US, growth to 1% in the next five years would imply category CAGR of 36%, while a 3% share would imply 78%.
“Cider falls into the craft beer category where it is currently circa. 7% of the total US beer market. Data shows that in areas such as Seattle and Washington, craft beer accounts for circa. 20% of the market, so again, the potential for category growth looks very promising,” Carroll said.
“Furthermore, we also note that, generally, imported cider and domestic cider do not compete for the same customer, which should limit any cannibalization impact on C&C’s total US sales.”
C&C could also use VHCC to distribute Magners in the States, the analyst said, noting that the underlying valuation of VHCC did not account for the potential for filling the gap left by the end of a deal (in mid-August) whereby the firm distributed Heineken USA cider brand Strongbow.
“Profits from the international business are expected by C&C’s management to account for circa. 20% of group profits by the year end to February 2016,” the analysts said.
4 Dec. 2012