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. Vijay Mallya’s craft beer firm brews fresh funding in US
California-based Mendocino Brewing Company, which sells a number of beer brands including Kingfisher in the US, has got Mallya as its Chairman and is owned by UB Group through a complex shareholding structure.
In a regulatory filing with the US markets regulator SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), Mendocino has disclosed having issued a ‘promissory note’ to Delaware-based Catamaran Services, Inc, in the principal amount of $ 325,000 (over Rs 2 crore).
It further said Mendocino had earlier also issued four promissory notes to Catamaran between January 2014 and June 2015, for principal amounts of $ 500,000 each.
Catamaran’s sole shareholder is an entity named Catamaran Holdings, Ltd, which interestingly “has directors in common with Inversiones Mirabel SA”, one of the major shareholders of Mendocino.
The indirect beneficial owner of Inversiones is United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL), making UBHL the indirect majority shareholder of Mendocino. Mallya chairs the boards of UBHL as well as Mendocino.
Mendocino further said it has also received a letter from Illinois-based MB Financial Bank permitting the company to obtain loans up to $ 400,000.
As per the terms of the promissory note, Mendocino has promised to pay the principal sum of $ 325,000 with accrued interest to Catamaran within 6 months, subject to the receipt by the company of a bridge loan from its majority shareholder.
This repayment is subject to the shareholder loan amount being sufficient either to pay the note through ‘Permitted Payments’, or to pay both the note and certain existing obligations of the company to MB Financial Bank.
The ‘Permitted Payments’ on the note are payments made from the portion of a Shareholder Loan that is in excess of $ 600,000, the filing further said.
If the company is not able to satisfy its obligations on the note within six months, the note will get automatically extended for additional six months terms “until a Shareholder Loan sufficient to satisfy the note is received or the note is otherwise paid.”
A major controversy has broken out back in India ever since Mallya left the country amid growing clamour for recovery of dues totalling over Rs 9,000 crore of the long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines in outstanding loans and interest amount.
Mallya and his group firms are also being probed by multiple regulators and agencies including Sebi, Enforcement Directorate and SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigations Office).
Under terms of the promissory note, interest will accrue from the date of the note on the unpaid principal at a rate equal to the lesser of 1.5 per cent per annum above the prime rate offered from time to time by the Bank of America Corporation, or 10 per cent per annum, until the principal is fully paid.
The note can be prepaid without penalty at the option of the company, but can not be amended without the prior written consent of MB Financial.
In another filing with SEC, Mendocino said it was unable to timely file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2015 “due to delays experienced in the collection of certain financial information about the Registrant’s UK subsidiaries required to be included in the Annual Report”.
“The Registrant intends to file the Annual Report with the Securities and Exchange Commission within the 15-day extension period…” it added.
In its last annual report for 2014, Mendocino had disclosed having paid Mallya a total amount of $ 267,700 (about Rs 1.8 crore). This included $ 120,000 per year for services rendered as Mendocino Chairman and $ 147,700 by a subsidiary United Breweries International (UK) Ltd for promoting its “products in the Foreign Territory outside the United Kingdom”.
The payment to him during 2015 would be known after the latest annual report is filed later this month.
Mallya became Mendocino’s Chairman in October 1997 and also served as its CEO until January 2005.
Mendocino Brewing Company was founded way back in 1983 and it caught Mallya’s interest in 1997.
Today it claims to produce over ’20 nationally recognisable labels’, including Red Tail Ale, and the company says it has “trekked from a 1983 production of about 400 barrels (5500 case equivalent) to the current production of about 75,000 barrels (over one million cases)”.
Its North American operations primarily consist of brewing and marketing proprietary craft beers. Its foreign operations are conducted through wholly-owned subsidiary United Breweries International (UK) Ltd and a step-down unit Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd.
4 Apr. 2016