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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.

National Boozebuster Notifies Thailand Pre-Mixed Cocktails are Illegal

After going dark for some months, the nation’s top alcohol regulator is back with more bad news.

Lao pan, those ubiquitous iced cocktail jugs sold at every festival and night market in Thailand? Illegal since 1950, Samarn Futrakul, the renowned prohibitionist who heads the alcohol control board, pointed out to reporters Sunday.

Samarn made the comment two days after he led a raid Friday on a night fair near Lumpini Park, in which officials busted cocktail stands and confiscated a number of alcoholic beverages said to violate the law, namely beer popsicles.

According to Samarn, the 1950 law specifically bans vendors from mixing large batches of alcohol to be sold in cups to customers. The law also outlaws giving out samples of cocktails to passers-by, he said.

Under Section 23 of the Liquor Act, no one is allowed to mix alcohol with other substances put it in a different container “unless the customer specifically requests the alteration of the liquor for immediate consumption.”

Because of that passage, Samarn warned, vendors are not allowed to prepare cocktails in large quantities, and they can only mix cocktails in small portions for customers who specifically order them, Samarn said.

He gave no indication whether he would next go after the tanks of mojitos and other pre-mixed cocktails commonly found in places which sell alcohol.

In the raid at the former site of the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, officials arrested vendors selling beer popsicles, which Samarn determined were an “alteration” of alcohol and therefore an offense under the 1950 law. The vendors face fines for these violations, he said.

The raid signaled Samarn’s return to the spotlight four months after he was chided for going too far with an overzealous campaign targeting increasingly mainstream activities, such as open-air beer gardens popular during the cool season (Illegal, he ruled).

An avowed Buddhist who believes alcohol is sinful, Samarn has sought to restrict its availability by drafting a number of laws and regulations as head of the National Alcohol Control Board.

Late last year, Samarn was a daily news fixture due to his zealous efforts to limit alcohol sales, such as threatening to prosecute anyone posting photos of alcohol on social media, and raids on convenience stores that violated strict but unenforced advertising regulations.

His rampage came to an abrupt end when he attempted to ban the beer gardens, a lucrative business for the kingdom’s major beer conglomerates and popular national past time. After being widely criticized for overreaching from figures including junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha, Samarn has kept a much lower profile.

15 Mar. 2016

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