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.
Beer sommelier mixes up beer cocktails and pairs cuisine with boutique ales
Identifying problems with beer is a key component of cicerone qualification. Beer, especially unfiltered and unpasteurized beer, can be damaged by heat as it moves through the distribution chain. Values, taps and pipes have to be kept super-clean to avoid contamination that could spoil the brew. Glassware is also important in experiencing the flavor and bouquet of each beer style.
Troy Zitzelsberger, an American, is the first cicerone to work in Korea. The cicerone qualification is administered by the U.S.-based Craft Beer Institute and requires detailed knowledge of beer storage and service, modern beer styles, beer history and historical beers. Candidates are required to pass written and tasting exams, and to be able to solve beer service issues.
"I spent a month just traveling around visiting brewpubs and tasting as many beers as I could find," Zitzelsberger said. "I had a four hour practical exam where I had to taste spiked beers, identify the problem and state whether I would serve it or not."
He currently works at Reilly's Taphouse in Itaewon, central Seoul, where he is responsible for the beer selection, food pairings and managing the beer equipment. Reilly's Taphouse has 20 beers on tap and 30 bottled beers, including rare ales aged in oak barrels, an impressive collection considering that finding representative beer styles in Korea, especially Belgian ales, can be time consuming as the majority of beer importers are small operations with less than five staff and focus on a handful of pubs and restaurants.
Zitzelsberger is introducing what is starting to become popular in the U.S. -- beer cocktails. One of them is his "Subtle Shark" made from bourbon and great white: a witbier from Lost Coast Brewery in the U.S.
Pub owners say most customers start out by trying beer cocktails out of sheer curiosity. Hwang Eun-jin, a 30-year-old office worker in Seoul, did so and found that they are balanced without being too filling.
"There's a touch of sweetness, but they don't make me feel bloated like beer," she said.
And balance is the key, according to Zitzelsberger. "The thing with beer cocktails is that you still want the beer to shine through. It's about having the proper amounts. Otherwise the spirits can overwhelm everything," he said.
Also, close collaboration between the chef and cicerone is key to developing a pairing that works by interplaying the flavors and textures between ingredients and the expressiveness of the beer.
"Intensity is important. You have to match the intensity of the food and beer," says Zitzelsberger.
Mussels cooked in soju (rice-based distilled liquor) and gochujang (red chili pepper paste) sauce are paired with Craftworks Moonbear IPA. There's an enormous kick added by the beer, and it's more a contrast than complimentary pairing that will certainly wake you up on a Sunday afternoon.
Chris DeBord, the chef, uses beer in his cooking. His Atlantic cod fish 'n' chips is wrapped in a hefeweizen beer batter and pairs well with Belgian triple ale. The carbonated beer acts as a palate cleanser while the richness of the beer compliments the richer than average cod, which is meaty and textural.
Beer is traditionally a seasonal product with brews created to pair with seasonal dishes and the weather of each season. Reilly's Taphouse is trying to reflect this with seasonal dinners and events. In November, they paired pumpkin and coconut foam soup with spiced moon bear ale at an autumn ales event. A homebrew festival is also planned for February with the Seoul Brew Club pairing beers with winter roasts.
Customers like Eric Thorpe, a PR executive in Seoul who has lived in Korea for 20 years, are welcoming the new trend.
"These days, I don't go to Western style bars, which tend to have mass market beers. In Itaewon you can get more craft beers," he said.
Korea hasn't been one of the countries with "real beer," according to Zitzelsberger. But now, people will come in and "try anything" to taste new styles and brands they haven't seen before. "There are a lot of options out there now," he said.
Zitzelsberger's personal tip -- be careful what you drink your beer in. "A triple should never be served in a tall thin glass," he said. "It's fine if you've got a lager, but for a more complex, high alcohol beer you need a sniffer glass or tulip so the beer can breathe and you get all those aromas."
29 Jan. 2013