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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.

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Japan. Asahi to bid over $4.8bn for SABMiller’s Eastern Europe business

Asahi Group Holdings plans to offer more than 500 billion yen ($4.87 billion) for British brewer SABMiller's beer operations in five Eastern European countries, aiming to firm up its footing on the Continent amid a slew of global market shifts.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer brewer, will acquire SABMiller, its second-ranked rival, next Monday. Both companies are reassessing global operations ahead of the deal. AB InBev plans to open bidding shortly for SABMiller's beer operations in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. Other bidders could include Asian brewers and European investment funds. The goal is to have an agreement in place by spring.

SABMiller is the market leader in all of the countries on offer but Slovakia, where it comes in at No. 2. The company's portfolio includes Pilsner Urquell, a Czech brand popular across Europe.

Asahi's overseas strategy so far has focused on Asia and Oceania, with expansion trailing such rivals as Kirin Holdings. Sales outside Japan account for around 20% of Asahi's total. The Japanese brewer is already set to buy brands including Italy's Peroni from SABMiller for 2.55 billion euros ($2.84 billion) as part of the deal with AB InBev. Adding operations in five more countries will further accelerate Asahi's overseas push.

AB InBev's acquisition of SABMiller is only the latest development to rock the global beer market. SABMiller has pulled out of Chinese and U.S. joint ventures ahead of the deal, in addition to handing off business in Italy and elsewhere to Asahi. Vietnam is prepared to privatize state-owned brewers, while Kirin is taking a second look at involvement in Brazil.

A successful bid by Asahi for SABMiller's Eastern European operations would mark the biggest-ever beer market acquisition by a Japanese brewer, beating out the 3.3 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion at the time) that Kirin paid to make Australia's Lion Nathan a wholly owned subsidiary in late 2009.

5 Oct. 2016

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