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.
Japanese cult-favourite craft beer now brewed in Hong Kong
A craft beer revolution is brewing in Hong Kong, and one of the latest producers to join the movement is Japan’s Hitachino Nest, which recently set up a 7,500 sq ft brewery in Fo Tan.
Based in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, the Hitachino Nest brand belongs to the Kiuchi Brewery, which has been making sake since 1823. Kiuchi launched Hitachino Nest after the relaxation of micro-brewing regulations in Japan, in 1994.
The brewer’s logo features a kawaii owl and the beer has become a cult favourite across the globe.
“Even the critically acclaimed New York fine-dining restaurant Eleven Madison Park serves our beer,” says Toshiyuki Kiuchi, the eighth generation to run the family business.
In Hong Kong, Hitachino Nest beer can be enjoyed with Thai food at Mak Mak, in Central, with Japanese curry at Tiger Curry, in Causeway Bay, and with contemporary Japanese dishes at Nobu, in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The Fo Tan brewery is Hitachino Nest’s first and only overseas production facility.
“Importing into mainland China directly from Japan is difficult,” which is where a made-in-Hong Kong label comes in handy, says Kiuchi. “Setting up a brewery in mainland China is also difficult. We have good local partners in Hong Kong.”
Kouji Tani, Hitachino Nest’s Japan-based brewmaster, visits the Fo Tan brewery regularly, but daily operations are led by Christopher Wong See-wai, one of the founders of home-brew company HK Brewcraft.
The Fo Tan brewery’s beers include the popular White Ale, a refreshing, unfiltered Belgian-style ale made with orange juice and spices such as coriander and nutmeg; the fruity Dai Dai Ale; and a dark Espresso Stout; as well as seasonal drinks, such as Amarillo Session, featuring North American Amarillo hops.
Kiuchi hopes the Hong Kong-made beers will taste just like the ones from his Japanese brewery. The malt, yeast and hops used in Fo Tan are the same as those used at the parent brewery, which leaves only the final, most important ingredient: water.
“We have installed filters here, and it’s good. We are happy with the quality of the water,” Kiuchi says.
And while he acknowledges it’s important to maintain the flavours that enthusiasts have come to know and love, Hitachino Nest is also planning something different for the local market – a Hong Kong edition is in the works.
31 Aug. 2016