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.
The spirit of Chinese alcohol drinking culture
The Chinese word for alcohol, jiǔ, not only has the same pronunciation as the words for ‘longevity’ and ‘forever’, but also sounds similar to the characters for ‘ownership’ (kàn). Therefore, it plays into Chinese people’s love of auspiciousness.
The company of alcohol
In ancient times alcohol was never absent from ceremonies honouring ancestors, holiday banquets or family celebrations. At a Chinese dinner, you would often hear the saying “Wu jiu bu cheng xi”, meaning ‘no dinner is complete without the company of alcohol’.
Chinese people like to entertain friends with alcohol. At both welcome and farewell parties for friends, Chinese like to drink to show their best wishes. People like to say that all the deep feelings are buried in alcoholic drinks.
During formal occasions, besides the high quality of alcohol, people pay special attention to the environment and etiquette for drinking—for example, there should not be any erratic drinking or forced drinking.
“Jiu guo san xun, cha guo wu wei” was a saying in ancient China, which meant that after five rounds of dishes and three rounds of drinking, there should be no more forced drinking. This exemplifies Chinese people’s viewpoints on how to keep good health and how to be an upright person at the dinner table.
Various strengths and flavours
Chinese people tend to drink white liquor or yellow rice wine. White liquor, or baiju, is a clear spirit primarily distilled from grains like sorghum, rice, and maize. Baijiu comes in various strengths and flavours, and generally falls in the 45-55 percent alcohol by volume level.
Baijiu accounts for approximately one-third of all liquor consumed in the world, although when you consider that China accounts for almost 40 percent of the world’s spirits consumption it isn’t so surprising.
Rice wine belongs to a variety of Chinese liquor called huang jiu (yellow liquor). This refers to fermented alcoholic beverages which are brewed directly from grains such as rice, wheat or millet—the alcohol content is usually less than 20 percent.
One other popular alcoholic beverage in China is Maotai, one of the most famous distilled liquors in the world. This liquor has been around since at least 135 CE and has enjoyed a reputation as China’s chief national wine for almost 1,000 years.
Beer has also been brewed in China ever since a brewery was founded in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, in 1900. Today, there are more than 1,500 domestic beer brands in China making it the world’s leading nation for beer production and consumption.
Cheers, or as you say China, ‘Gānbēi!’
3 Nov. 2016