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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.

China. Import beer market saw great changes

As summer came, the season of beer sales has started. Consumers saw imported beer in the best shelf spaces in many big supermarkets. Profits from selling imported beer are much higher than from Chinese sorts which created a great problem for the local brewers.

importAt supermarkets one can find dozens of expensive, well-known import brands. Beijing Youth Daily writes that the price for a 0.3 l beer can varies from 6 to 28.9 yuan and a half-a-liter bottle usually costs 10-20 yuan. For example, in Beijing Century Lianhua Supermarket located beyond East Third Ring Road, the price for German beer Kostritzer is 18 yuan for 500 ml and Belgian Hoegaarden costs 8.25 yuan for 300 ml. Import beer is as a rule 30%, more expensive than Chinese premium and in some cases twice the price of a 300 ml can. For example, the same volume of Tsingdao costs 4.2 yaun. Besides, one can find barrels of 5 l on the shelves.

Yet, consumers do not consider such prices unreasonable. Just several years ago, the main sales channel for imported beer in Beijing was “the night market”: clubs, bars, and restaurants. But now the situation has changed, as import beer brands are easy to find in the retail. The steady growth of import was stimulated by free trade zone, zero rates and other reasons. Starting from 2012, the net sales growth of import beer reached 737.2% against the decline of production by Chinese producers over the previous years.

China imported 100.39 million litres of beer for the period from January to March 2016. This year the growth in the first quarter was 34.2% versus 74.7% of last year.

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In experts’ view the domestic beer branch can still undergo adaptation period due to the influence of AB InBev and other foreign giants, import beer and craft beer. The domestic beer companies are actively changing their business strategies at the moment.

18 May. 2016

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