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. What qualifies as craft beer?
There was a time when it was clear who made a beer. The name on the label matched the company of its origin.
However, with the recent rise in craft breweries, the associations have become blurred.
To diversify, large macrobrewing companies, such as Anheuser-Bush InBev, have created offshoot brands resembling craft beers, such as A-B's Shock Top, and are buying out craft beer companies, such as A-B's purchase of Chicago-based Goose Island.
Now, craft brewers are speaking out about this practice. The Brewers Association, whose mission is to promote and protect small, independent American brewers, issued a statement titled "Craft vs. Crafty" to try to set the record straight on what the definition of "craft" is.
Behind the label
An American craft brewer, defined by the Brewers Association, has an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less, and no more than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not a craft brewer. That definition has drawn a hard "us vs. them" line, as both craft and macrobrewers trade barbs.
Craft beer, under those terms, has seen a steady increase in sales in recent years.
In 2011, craft brewers noted a 13% increase by volume, according to the Brewers Association, and in the first half of 2012, volume grew by an additional 12%. At the same time, the overall beer industry was down 1.3% by volume; domestic non-craft was down 5 million barrels in 2011, according to the Brewers Association.
During that time, more craft breweries have been bought out by macrobrewers. If a large brewer has a controlling share of a smaller producing brewery, the brewer is, by definition, not craft, according to the association. The group deems products produced by such breweries as "crafty" beers because they're not labeled as products of large breweries.
Because beers such as Blue Moon Belgian Wheat or Shock Top are not clearly labeled as made by SABMiller or A-B, respectively, the Brewers Association says many drinkers are fooled into thinking they're drinking a craft product.
"The large, multinational brewers appear to be deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today's small and independent brewers," according to a Brewers Association release. "We call for transparency in brand ownership and for information to be clearly presented in a way that allows beer drinkers to make an informed choice about who brewed the beer they are drinking."
Julia Herz, Brewers Association craft beer program director, said the statement came in reaction to increased media coverage of craft beer.
Herz said the Brewers Association does not define craft beer — it leaves that to the market — but it does define what a craft brewer is, and that definition was created in 2005.
"The point we bring up is to not to blur the lines in the marketplace, to stay true to bring up what is in the bottle," she said. "No one should tell beer lovers what to drink. They need to educate themselves and go forth, conquer and enjoy."
Both A-B and Miller are members of the Brewers Association. Both are classified as non-voting members, due to their size.
While Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins brewery General Manager Kevin Fahrenkrog didn't directly address the Brewers Association's allegation that A-B is blurring beer lines, he said in an e-mail that the facility brews Shock Top and selected Goose Island brands.
"The growth of beer styles has given rise to hundreds of small brewers and earned our Shock Top, Goose Island and other brands a place in this growing segment," he said. "Each of our beers has its own identity, but each receives our care and craftsmanship to assure its quality maintains the trust of our consumers."
Around the same time that the Brewers Association released its statement, Steve Hindy, co-founder, president and chairman of The Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, N.Y., wrote an opinion piece on CNN.com on Dec. 12 stating that the purchase of Mexico's Modelo beer brands by A-B is the equivalent of forming a beer "duopoly."
"Ultimately, with limited choices, the beer consumer loses," wrote Hindy, who noted that if the Modelo deal goes through, Miller and A-B would control more than 80% of the U.S. beer market.
The fear among small brewers is they will be edged out for shelf and tap space by the big brewers. Craft brewers struggle to get the attention of distributors, Hindy noted.
Shortly afterward, MillerCoors CEO Tom Long fired back with his own CNN.com opinion piece, in which he claimed, definitions aside, to brew some of the most popular craft beers in the marketplace. Long asked readers not to confuse the style of a beer with the quality of the beer, defending brands such as Blue Moon and noting that it introduces many to the craft beer scene.
Launched in 1995, Blue Moon went on to become the best-selling craft beer in the country, Long wrote.
"We know that no matter what style of beer it is, we will ultimately be judged by the quality of our beers. We like that, because we are confident that the quality of our beers stacks up well versus that of any brewer of any size, anywhere," Long wrote in his CNN column.
New Belgium Brewing is the third-largest craft brewery in the country, and spokesman Bryan Simpson said the company aligns with the Brewers Association in calling for transparency. Simpson said one of the greatest assets of a craft brewer is its story and ability to connect with a community in which its beers are made. The call to clearly label who makes beers is a call to level the playing field, he said. "I think there will always be a fight for shelf space, share of mind and stomach," he said. "As long as everyone is in agreement in terms of what tools are used, the consumer benefits."
But does the public care? James Francis, director of the Beverage Business Institute, which has ties to both big breweries and craft breweries, is not convinced.
"I think a small percentage, who would be craft beer snobs, would really care about it," Francis said. "Otherwise, I think they are more concerned about what is in the bottle and whether or not they like it."
Francis said today's generation of beer drinkers tends to favor several beers, as opposed to the former, which had one or two go-to beers.
14 Jan. 2013