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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.

Tuborg Strong, Elephant bring fizz to Carlsberg’s India sales

Strong beer is helping Carlsberg ride out of sluggish beer sales in India. At a time when the overall Indian beer market is growing at about 5% a year, robust sales of brands like Tuborg and Elephant have helped the Danish brewer double its local business every two years.

Unlike most other markets, where Carlsberg's top seller is the milder version of the eponymous lager, the company's Indian unit has been focusing on brands such as Tuborg Strong and Elephant because strong beer accounts for 80% of country's overall sales volume of 300 million cases.

"The growth can be attributed to the long-term strategy to focus on key markets, especially cities, focused brand portfolio, expanding manufacturing footprint, increased product availability and above all a strong team," said Michael Jensen, managing director, Carlsberg India, which reported a 54% increase in sales at . Rs 765 crore during FY15 with net loss of Rs 232 crore.

However, despite the healthy sales numbers, innovations and aggressive product launches, Carlsberg's market share in India the world's third fastest growing beer market is one of its lowest globally. Tuborg, which was launched in the country as a premium brand in 2009, has now become the second largest strong brand.

Carlsberg is the third largest player in India with 15% share, trailing market leader United Breweries, which is controlled by Heineken, which has 51% share, and SabMiller which has 23% share.

"Most of the premium brands have done well in the last few years. Carlsberg seems to have taken share mainly from SabMiller and some fringe players since United Breweries has been consistent in maintaining its share," said Abneesh Roy, associate director at Edelweiss Capital.

SabMiller, the maker of Haywards and Knock Out beer, clocked 1% growth in net sales at Rs 1,940 crore, and a net loss of . Rs 127 crore in 2014-15. UB, which sells Kingfisher beer, grew 11% at RS 4,692 crore in net revenue and profit of Rs 260 crore.

The alcoholic beverages industry in India is heavily regulated, with excise and other taxes forming an important source of revenue for state governments. In states that collectively account for 70% of the industry's revenue, the government controls manufacturing, distribution, retailing and pricing of liquor.

This makes it difficult for most companies to make higher profits. In fact, SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer, has written down $313 million (. Rs 2,000 crore) of its investment in India last year, citing increasing regulatory and excise challenges.

But Carlsberg is hopeful to be out of the red despite increasing its investment the company's seventh plant became operational last fiscal in Bihar and its existing plant in Haryana undertook capacity expansion.

9 Feb. 2016

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