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.
India. Pint-sized businesses
Craft beers in small batches have caught on at bars across Mumbai. Adventurous patrons are quaffing ale, stout and ciders made by smaller breweries. The 45-plus microbreweries— a category which first launched in 2009 — in the country offer over 500 varieties of craft beer between them. The 10 companies brewing in Maharashtra alone serve up at least three or four new craft beers every week.
The Barking Deer, which served Mumbai its first craft beer 26 months ago, is launching a Republic Day special with its dark rice beer, a follow-up to its popular Christmas ale. In the past five years, Pune-HQed Doolally, India’s first microbrewery, has launched 60 new beers and a Mumbai outlet; this winter, it is introducing a mango cider and a coffee porter. Brewbot is offering a stout and a cider this season. White Owl, 15 months old, has already introduced 16 varieties of beer so far; it is now bringing out a witbier (a Belgian style pale ale that uses more wheat relative to barley) with ‘a light, fluffy body offering a citrus orangey flavour.’ The Gateway Brewing Company now has coffee stout, a creamy combination of traditional stout and single estate coffee sourced from south India.
Of course all the experimentation has its boundaries. As Greg Kroitzsh, MD, Barking Deer says, “Innovation is key, but it’s the approachable beers that do really well in India.” ‘Approachable,’ in India, rules out an extreme sour or an overly bitter taste. Light-bodied wheat beers, which go well with spicy Indian food, do best. For example, in Woodside Inn, wheat beers are 70% of their sales within the craft segment.
To keep the perception of variety going, one strategy brewers use is to rotate beer varieties, with just a few favourites permanently on tap. And they encourage experimentation sampling. Sameer Seth, a partner in Bombay Canteen at Lower Parel, says, “We let people have tasters and samplers and it keeps the buzz going.”
New biz on tap
For the breweries, one could say that their flagons runneth over. Doolally, hopes to open up to four more outlets in the near future, says co-founder Suketu Talekar. “We are close to exhausting our installed capacity of 17,000 litres per month in Pune. We need to scale up to meet the growing demand. In the medium term we are looking to raise funds, but it’s unclear now.” Talekar is not alone. The Gateway Brewing Company, which works on a supply-only model to 65 restaurants in Mumbai, wants to add at least another 10 across the state by the end of this quarter. Another popular north Mumbai-based brewery, Brewbot, is scouting for locations in Bandra and south Mumbai to open new taprooms.
Globally, India’s consumption of beer is one of the lowest: per capita annual consumption is around two litres. The Beeronomics 2015 report predicts that in 2016, India’s consumption will be just a few sips more: a miniscule 2.6 litres. Mehra of Gateway says, “The authorities need to support this industry just like they did with wine and allow it to grow, because unlike the monolithic macro brewers, we actually care about the product and not just the label.”
So far, Maharashtra’s state excise department hasn’t been hospitable. The prohibitive taxation policy is a downer: beer is taxed 1.67 times higher than spirits like whisky and vodka in the state.
According to the All India Brewer’s Association (AIBA), in a case of 7.8 litres of beer, the absolute alcohol content is a mere (point five) 0.5 ml whereas in a case of whisky of 9 litres, the absolute alcohol content is 42.8% meaning 3.85 alcoholic litres. Craft brewers say the alcohol in their products is below usually 5 per cent and never more than seven per cent. Taxing beer, in their perhaps biased view, is like taxing water.
Shobhan Roy, Director General AIBA says, “Beer is not daaru (alcohol). By taxing beer higher than spirits, the government is compelling people to opt for spirits. The growth of beer as a category is being arrested and on a year-on-year basis we are only seeing a 3% national growth and in Maharashtra the sales have been flat.” He adds, “If the industry needs a fillip and the government wants to improve its revenue from beer, then more retailing outlets for just wine and beer need to open which have less duty and this will wean people off spirits as well.”
But what is a craft beer anyway?
The appeal of craft beer is all about the texture, the ‘mouth feel.’ The mass-produced labels you can buy at any wine shop or dive bar have what Brewbot partner Ketan Sinh Gohel calls a “synthetic taste. They have a high glycerin index to increase shelf life. Most craft beers, unless they are of higher gravity, typically expire in 21 days, as there is no preservative or anything artificial in it.”
The ingredients are of huge importance, though views differ on where the best sources are. Javed Murad, founder of White Owl Brewery, for instance, imports all his ingredients. But Rahul Mehra, founder of The Gateway Brewing Company, says “All our malts are sourced locally from Gurgaon and then we roast and treat it ourselves.”
You’re unlikely to find a craft beer using any substitute for malted barley. Mass producers often substitute corn or rice for malt to cut costs, and also use a pasteurisation process to ensure longevity. Mehra says, “There is no skimping on anything. We don’t spend on billboards and gimmicky marketing and treat beer as a mere commodity like some mainstream commercial beers. We put everything we have in the craft and hence the distinct taste.”
22 Jan. 2016