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.
USA&Thailand. Can This Thai Lager Convince American Millennials It’s Not Just Another ‘Asian Beer’?
"For the past 10 years, our focus has always been Asian or Thai Americans who dine in Thai restaurants," said Sarunee Suthikulpanit, marketing manager for Chang Beer USA. "But we want to broaden our brand to a bigger consumer crowd." By that, she means the average American beer drinker, whether he's eating in a Thai restaurant or not.
To that end, Chang is launching an augmented-reality feature next month that will let drinkers scan a Chang logo or bottle to be transported to a new digital hub populated by video games, song lists and other "branded experiences," including a chance to become the brand's first "digital ambassador." Chang also plans to broaden its involvement with Muay Thai, Thailand's unapologetically rough brand of mixed martial arts, by sponsoring fights in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas in conjunction with Friday Night Fights.
Kristin Wardian, a digital content strategist Chang has retained for these efforts, explained that after gaining a following among Thai Americans, the beer brand "is looking to target more millennial consumers, a younger segment who are into digital and mobile and are more apt to explore different cultures."
It's a noble goal to be sure—but it won't be an easy one.
Chang has done its homework on America. According to its sales materials, Asian beer sales in the U.S. are up 6 percent against an international beer category that's otherwise flat. Chang has a number of awards under its belt, including a 2011 World Beer Awards medal for Asia's best premium lager, and it's generally on solid ground when it claims that American consumers "are seeking brands from exotic locations."
But Chang is also making its move at a rough time for the U.S. beer market. Not only has per capita beer consumption been dropping for a generation, once dominant labels like Miller and Budweiser suffered 25 percent dips in sales between 2009 and 2014 (one reason the megabrewers want to merge). If there's one bright spot, it's craft beer sales—a trend largely driven by 20-somethings.
But while Chang might be aiming for those 20-something drinkers, beer industry consultant Matt Simpson points out that Chang is not a craft brew and will have a "hard time" getting attention.
"Chang is a pale lager—like Asahi for Japan and Budweiser for the U.S.," he said. "There's a pale lager for every country in the world, and theirs is no better than anyone else's."
Millennials, Simpson continued, "know all about pale lagers already, [and] they don't need to know where it's coming from or if it has a great story. Honestly, any beer entering the market, unless it's already attached to a craft beer, has no chance."
Suthikulpanit is well aware of the challenges Chang faces, in particular being dropped into the "Asian beer" category by default. "Even the big brands like Sapporo are limited in terms of how consumers see them," she said. "When you talk about anything Asian, people think of food. So we have the challenge of being in that category—we're not a lifestyle beer."
Nevertheless, Chang does have an unusual flavor—its citrus taste is intended to cut through spicy foods—that at least sets it apart from the Millers and Buds of the world. Chang's labeling also marks it as a relatively exotic brew (even if the white elephant logo is metaphorically unfortunate).
Suthikulpanit adds that millennials' willingness to break with convention and try new things may well work to Chang's advantage, especially when the brand's digital marketing initiatives kick in. "Our campaign is about a younger generation living and experiencing things," she said. "If they want to try an Asian beer, we want to be that beer."
23 Feb. 2016