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. Cheers to fruit beers!
Even as microbreweries gear up to showcase special brews to celebratethe upcoming Oktoberfest, most regulars at city breweries would have noticed a range of interesting specials - mostly, fruit-infused. Whether it's Toit's Mosambi wheat beer or The Biere Club's Orangina, or Brewsky's Pineapple basil ale, city brewers came up with some unusual combinations celebrating local and seasonal produce. Globally, flavoured brews are fairly common, especially in Belgium, but in India, only a few microbreweries have been experimenting with it on a regular basis. Then, in June, the Craft Brewers Association of India (a collaboration of brewery owners and brewers to promote the industry in Bengaluru as well as other cities) organised an Indie Brew festival for which several microbreweries in the city came up with experimental fruit flavours.
Flavoured beer finds favour
Talking about how beer drinkers in India are still getting used to the bolder, hoppier (bitter) flavours of craft beer, Ajay Nagarajan, CEO of Windmills Craftworks in Whitefield reveals that most prefer a milder beer like the Hefeweizen. "The Hefeweizen is a fruity refreshing ale that has hints of banana and clove and probably adds up to 50 per cent of the craft beer sold in India. Building on this trend, a lot of breweries are experimenting with fruit-infused ales. Also, these ales are a hit with women who otherwise would stay away from beers."
The Biere Club developed Orangina Lager and Kiwi Saison for the CBAI Indie Brew (fruit beer edition). But they have been adding interesting ingredients such as jaggery, strawberry, chocolate, blackcurrant, Alphonso mangoes, etc., for years now."The CBAI Indie brew project is a way for us at the CBAI to showcase the craft culture of beer to anyone who wants to drink a glass of beer, novices to connoisseurs alike," says Rohit Parwani, Head Brewer, The Biere Club, adding, "A fruit-based beer caters to a majority of the population, owing to the fact that it is easy to drink and creative, so to speak. People are always looking for something new and brewing fruit-based beers is a way to keep that novelty alive."
The fact that there's a wide variety of seasonal fruits available at low cost, as Logan Schaedig, head brewer, Arbor Brewing Company,points out, it's only natural to add them to beer.
Picking the right fruit
When it comes to choosing what kind of fruit to use, Parwani describes the process as "fairly intuitive". "In my opinion, if you are audacious enough, there's no fruit that can't be used." Case in point, Toit's jackfruit ale which was introduced earlier this year. Arun George, one of the co-owners of the popular Indiranagar brewery, says, "As per our research no one has ever developed jackfruit-infused ale before. With a subtle jackfruit flavour, it appealed to those who are fond of the fruit and it sold really quickly as well." In the past, they've also done a Pumpkin Ale for Halloween and Passion Potion (with passion fruit) for Valentine's Day.
According to Nagarajan, fruits that have a significant sourness/tartness are difficult to use as the yeast eats up all the sugar and leaves the sourness behind. "This sourness unless it's in sweet Belgian Ale does not pair well with the bitter hops. Hence, sweet fruits like mango, watermelon or pineapple work. Also, some of the aroma hops exhibit tropical fruit flavours like passion fruit, guava, orange peel, lemon and pineapple. Any fruits that complement these hops work well," he explains.
Arbor creates new beers at least once a month, Schaedig says,and they frequently check to see which fruits are in season and whether they would like to use it. "Being an American style brewpub, our list of fruit beers is quite vast including Strawberry Blonde, Mojito Beer, Pomegranate Pilsner, Tamarind Wheat, and most recently, we added plums to our Phat Abbot Tripel that is aging in a whiskey barrel." Aging beer in barrels is a traditional way of storing and transporting beer. "In modern times, we are reviving this method of aging to lend natural sourness to the beer. Particularly in Belgium, fruit is added to these oak-aged beers to create a complete flavour experience. The finished product is heavenly."
The magic brew
The brewing process and time for fruit-infused brews is not that different from the regular ales that most microbreweries develop. Schaedig says,"Fruit can be added at any step in theory but most brewers would add it to the end of the boiling process, or inside the fermenter. The amount varies depending on what you wish to create but, on an average, 50-100 kg of most fruits will give flavour to 1000 litres of beer."
For the Indie Brew fest, Toit developed a Mosambi Wheat beer for which, unlike their other fruit-infused ales, they just used the peel as opposed to the pulp or juice. "It lent a light, citrusy note to the beer," George says. However, most brewers will use fresh fruit pulp or juice to develop the flavour. "We add aseptic fruit puree or juice during secondary fermentation. The recipe usually calls for 10% fruit puree. There are recipes where fruit puree is added during the boil process in the kettle but we haven't tried it yet," says Nagarajan. While they brewed an Alphonso Mango Golden Ale for the Indie Brew fest, in the past they've developed a Watermelon Hefeweizen and a Pineapple IPA.
Passing the taste test
For those who aren't familiar with craft beer or fruit-infused ales, one word of caution - the brew will largely contain the aroma of the fruit as opposed to any real taste. "Since the yeast eats away all the sugars, what's left behind are the fruit-infused aromas, colour and little bit of the tartness. Anything that's un-fermentable is left behind in the beer," Nagarajan says. While Parwani says that they aim to balance the aroma with a fairly substantial perception on the palate, Schaedigexplains that sweet, sour or bitter fruit flavours make up the actual taste of the beer.
Notwithstanding what it tastes like, Bengalureans seem to love the novelty of it.Most breweries we spoke to develop brews in 1,000 litre batches, however, Toit has started brewing 2,000 litres of their AamAadmi Ale and Pumpkin Ale because of the huge demand. Nagarajan points out how these flavoured alesusually run out 30% faster than Windmills' regular beers.
Made in limited batches, most of these fruit-infused ales (made for the Indie Brew fest)would have run out by now but if you keep an eye out there's bound to be more in the future.
26 Sep. 2016