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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.

Mozambique. Cheap beer made from cassava and sorghum launched in Africa

SABMiller sells Impala as healthy alternative to moonshine

The era of home brew in Africa may be coming to an end. SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer, is wooing the continent’s illegal drinkers with dirt-cheap beer. In Mozambique, the brewer has released Impala, a beer made from cassava, the milky root used to make tapioca. At 70 cents a bottle, Impala is significantly cheaper than its malty cousins, priced at a dollar, making it affordable for the country’s rising middle class.

Zsuzsa Szilagyi, an alcohol analyst for Euromonitor International, says companies like SABMiller are looking for niche markets. “The African beer market is highly consolidated,” she says, so there’s a “big fight” for new markets.

SABMiller, founded in Johannesburg in the late 1800s, is battling with other beverage companies such as Heineken and Diageo for Africa’s growing population of beer drinkers. Impala was pitched as a healthy alternative to illegal alcohol made from sorghum—a starchy grain—and corn. (Methanol and battery acid have reportedly been included in the moonshine recipes.) The Mozambique government is giving the beer a break on taxes, seen as a way to give the economy a boost by employing farmers to produce raw cassava. One year after its 2011 launch, nine million bottles of the brew have been sold. In Uganda, the company has had tax breaks for years with Eagle beer, made from sorghum.

The beers have a different taste profile from Canadian brands. Take Chibuku, an opaque beer with the consistency of a milkshake. It’s made from sorghum and corn, and the ?avour ranges from sour to sweet, depending on the region. Packaged in cheerful white, blue and red one-litre cartons, the beer ferments in the store, going from 0.5 per cent alcohol to four per cent over a period of five days, at which point it expires and must be tossed.

SABMiller is planning to use the Impala formula in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia. “We hope to extend the use of cassava as a brewing ingredient beyond Mozambique,” says Andy Wales, SABMiller’s vice-president of sustainable development. There are other unconventional beer crops being considered too, he says, but can’t “disclose specifics, for obvious reasons.”

20 Dec. 2012

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