The beer market dynamics in Russia is approaching zero, yet major brewers are divided into those who developed considerably in 2017 and those who considerably reduced their volumes. For instance, company Efes has managed to substantially extend their sales due to restrained pricing policy and activity in the modern trade. Heineken has also demonstrated an excellent performance promoted by significant increase of advertisement budgets launching a non-alcohol sort of the title brand and unusual activity in the economy market segment. Carlsberg and AB InBev have been focusing on margins and lost a market share of their inexpensive brands. Serious dependence on PET package and mass enthusiasm about Zhigulevskoe have negatively impacted the most of big regional brewers, that have been for the first time pressed by the leaders in the key sales channels, especially in Volga and Central regions. In the small business there has been a noticeable slowdown in appearing of new restaurant breweries, yet the number of craft breweries has been growing rapidly. In 2018, the beer market is likely to grow a little, while the share of AB InBev Efes may decrease due to the integration. ...
“Catalogue of Russian Beer Producers 2018” includes 1070 businesses ranging from large subsidiaries of international companies to rather small restaurant and craft microbreweries.The catalogue includes 32 large breweries, 75 regional breweries, 693 industrial mini- and microbreweries as well as 270 restaurant breweries. ...
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.
India. United Breweries Uses IT to Strengthen Market Leadership
With 100 years of brewing heritage, United Breweries Limited (UBL) has been a market leader in the beer business in India with over 50% market share. It has a portfolio of winning brands, with its flagship, Kingfisher, being synonymous with beer in the country.
The company operates in a very complex regulatory environment and has a network of 30 breweries across the country to meet the market demand. Kingfisher beer has won many laurels at International beer festivals and is available in over 50 countries. It is the leading Indian beer brand across the World.
Beer that is supplied to bars in kegs and dispensed from taps on bar counters is referred to as Draught Beer. This type of beer is extremely popular amongst consumers and has seen rapid growth in recent years. To support the growth the company has invested in a large number of returnable kegs. Draught beer being fresher than bottled beer, has a shorter shelf life.
Kegs—where the Draught Beer resides—have a long distance to travel from the brewery to the tap. Replenishment and recycling them with fresh stocks demand calling them back in time from multiple locations.
The beer kegs are valuable company assets, moving from breweries to distributors to pubs and then back home again. A few lose their way and never reach home. It was manually difficult to maintain records of kegs that have been supplied and returned. “At the moment, we have many customers who buy beer kegs regularly and there are some who buy not so frequently and the lack of visibility results in empty kegs not being collected in time from these non-regular customers,” says S Ramakrishnan, Divisional Vice President–IT, United Breweries.
But wait, there is more! The company’s manual tracking system did not provide an accurate estimate of the keg float . There was no structured method of being certain about the inventory accuracy. They did not get a detailed understanding of the keg loss rate, which was another issue for the brewing stalwart.
A key factor in ensuring appropriate service levels and cost management is the turnaround time of kegs and their security. The business need was to find a solution to meet this challenge. UBL decided to use technology to track its beer kegs in order to provide greater visibility into the path its kegs take after they are filled at the brewery.
All the beer kegs have an RFID tag with a unique identifier which is associated with the actual identity of the keg. The master data pertaining to every keg would be maintained in a database. When the keg is filled with beer, the tag will be updated with manufacturing information such as SKU Code, date of manufacturing and batch number”, adds Ramakrishnan. The entire movement of the kegs thereafter, across the supply chain from the brewery to the distribution points and then on to the bars and final return to brewery would be recorded in the system.
Ramakrishnan, his IT team along with sales and manufacturing teams conceptualized the idea of using RFID tags to track the beer kegs as scanning is easier and records a 100 percent read rate. The measurements of the tag are 48.5 x 38 x 9.5 (mm). “It is glued with an adhesive, which cannot be removed and the tags are fixed on the metal body of the keg. “The tag has to withstand high-heat and high-pressure wash cycles, and work on metal assets containing liquids,” says Ramakrishnan.
RFID technology was chosen over barcode technology so as to ensure that there were no scanning challenges on the ground. RFID terminals that supported GSM networks were chosen, so that transactions could be uploaded to the server from the field.
The system requirements were quite unique to the industry and there were no standard products available that catered to the needs. It was therefore decided to build the software using the mobile framework, as mobility is the key requirement of the system. The system had to be designed with a simple and intuitive interface for it to be effectively used by the people involved in the supply chain and had to support offline capability for it to work effectively under the present working conditions.
The number of kegs being scanned during each operation are recorded through a RFID reader which is GSM enabled. The data would be uploaded to the server periodically using the Synchronization process. During the Synchronization process, the required master and transaction data would also be pushed into the handheld device.
“We had anticipated initial challenges when the system would go live as the users involved were not very skilled. Therefore, to minimize the risks, we decided to conduct a dry run for nearly 2 months with the objective of getting feedback from the field and fine tune the system,” says Ramakrishnan. This approach has helped the company immensely as some of the users became quite familiar with the system. A considerable amount of time was spent on training the users so that they would be able to operate the system effectively.
The dry run started this February and the system became fully operational in May. “At this point of time, the RFID technology to track beer kegs has been implemented in Bangalore and Mumbai” he says.
The company took the help of technology partners–TeamLiftss and GoDB. TeamLiftss provided the RFID tags and GoDB developed the software says Ramakrishnan, adding that they zeroed in on them because they were cost effective and efficient. He even added that the handheld devices were purchased from Zebra.
In High Spirits
The company is in high spirits with this project. There is better use of the existing keg fleet, identifying bottle necks and reducing capital investment. Overall, it has given UBL an unprecedented view of keg inventory.
Ramakrishnan exclaims triumphantly,” post implementation of this system, the visibility of kegs lying with customers at any point of time has been one of the biggest benefits. Using this information, the distribution team is able to improve collection of empty kegs resulting in faster turnaround time and increased float available for distribution.”
The increased availability of kegs for distribution has helped increase overall sales, track delays in delivery and improve overall supply chain planning and execution.
With all guns blazing, UBL plans to use RFID technology to track beer kegs in other markets like Pune, Delhi, Punjab, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Goa and Chennai in due course.
When kegs return well in time, they end up ready to serve the cheering pub hoppers. So it’s cheers all the way!
22 Dec. 2015