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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.


Looking to the future: What to watch in beer in 2016 – and beyond

What makes the beer sector an exciting one to watch in 2016? From flavored beers to new breweries, here are some areas with promising potential.

Innovations that tap into multiple trends; an increasing diversity of brews; and the potential of technology to differentiate brands were among the areas identified by our panel during Beer and Beyond, our free online event, which you can listen to on demand here.

Kevin Baker, senior consultant at Canadean; Edward Brunner, head of food and beverage systems at Cambridge Consultants, and Simon Spillane, Public Affairs Director, The Brewers of Europe highlighted areas that make the beer industry an exciting one to watch in 2016 and beyond.

Flavored craft beers: The intersection of trends

Premiumization, craft, sweeter flavors and non-alcoholic beers are all trends in today’s market, said Kevin Baker, senior consultant, Canadean. Identifying where the main trends are colliding – or could collide in the future - is particularly interesting.

“Looking at where some of the mega trends intersect: you’ve got this move toward flavored beers and fruit beers, you’ve got the continuing growth of craft beer, and you’ve got the trend towards non-alcoholic beer,” he said.

“What you’re interestingly seeing is some brewers are creating products that sit on those intersections, so especially in the craft area you’re seeing a growth of flavored beers, very strong growth in that - more so in the States, but you’re beginning to see it in Europe as well.

“And it will be interesting to see if any of the craft brewers actually move into the non-alcohol space.”

Markets and brewers

In other areas, Baker notes a changing competitive landscape as a result of the AB InBev and SABMiller deal. The disposals that happen as a result of the tie-up (for example the sale of Snow to China Resources Beer) will also shape the market.

Geographically, there are specific markets that should hold a lot of interest for brewers, added Baker: for instance Nigeria, Mongolia and India (India may have negligible per capita consumption, but its population size makes it a key market to watch).

Bringing consumers back to beer

More than 900 new breweries have opened in Europe since 2013, and The Brewers of Europe now represents the interests of more than 6,500 breweries.

For Simon Spillane, Public Affairs Director at The Brewers of Europe, this demonstrates the diversity of the market and shows how there is the opportunity for beer to appeal to a wider range of consumers.

“Five years ago we were talking about 3,000 breweries in Europe and now there are 6,500,” he said. “I would be very interested to see how this trend continues developing in 2016, both in terms of number of breweries but also the diversity, the choice of beers that are on the market.”

Such diversity also offers a chance to get into occasions that have been left for wine, or bring back consumers who had turned away from beer, he added.

“This diversity is an opportunity for both the micro brewers but also for the global brewers – this general excitement and interest around the category as a whole.”

Differentiation through technology

Edward Brunner, head of food and beverage systems at Cambridge Consultants, agrees that diversity is an important factor, playing into the trend for personalization.

“Continued diversity in choice, the different types of flavors available, the different combinations of ingredients, it gives consumers more options and the ability to personalize,” he said.

“And building on that: how that can be bought to consumers in different ways. So do we just continue to increase the number of SKUs available, or do we come back to technology but use technology to create differentiation in different places, be that at home or in the on-trade, things like infusion systems.”

In the case of the on-trade, this could encourage people to explore something different at bars, rather than sticking to what they know at home, he added.

15 Mar. 2016



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