The trend of complication of Russian beer market is going on and in several directions at the same time. The range has got wider, the import and small segments are growing, namely craft beer, alcohol-free beer and special flavor beer. At the same time, all ex-mega brands and light lagers by Russian brewers are experiencing a decline of their shares. AB InBev Efes, Heineken, MBC and Pivzavod Trekhsosenskiy have exceeded the market, Carlsberg was developing slower than the market and Ochakovo as well as some other mid-sized breweries have been cutting down their volumes. To a big extent brewers’ performance was connected to their ability to reach agreement with networks, sacrifice their margin and enter new markets. Craft brewers are facing a serious danger of producers’ registration introduction – de facto licensing. ...
The global outlooks of the legal market of cannabis are excellent. It is possible to simultaneously imagine dry law repeal and craft brewing boom but not in one but in several consumer categories. For alcohol is contained in liquids and cannabis derivatives can be in three physical forms. The value of legal market of cannabis and its products can reach 10% of the world beer market in five years, and in 2030-2040 even reach the same scope provided the current rates of legalization and development of market infrastructure remain at the same level. Cannabinoids are actively integrating into the food industry from chewing gum to beverages deforming the pharmaceutical and alcohol markets, they influence the trends of healthy lifestyle and beauty. ...
Beer market of Kazakhstan acquired both traits of East European countries and South Eastern Asia taking a transitional position between them by many criteria and consumption style. Yet there is a positive trend in beer production which differs Kazakhstan from most of the neighboring countries. The market has remained consolidated in the hands of two international players because of its small size. However, it faces dynamic processes such as fast growth of draft beer sales, up and downs of regional companies and Carlsberg Group’s ultimate expansion. Excessive mainstream segment has declined over the recent years, yet, Zhigulevskoe and national brands with regional links have yielded their positions to a range of new products. In our review special attention was paid to regional analysis of the markets. In 14 regions of Kazakhstan we compared the companies’ positions, the market price segmentation and DIOT channel development. Besides we have compared the beer market of Kazakhstan to neighboring countries. ...
Getting Hooked on Craft Brewers Alliance
Still, I wasn't immediately interested in owning the stock. Though its brands are gaining in popularity, the company is a micro-cap, with a value south of $200 million. And what analyst coverage the company does receive mostly involves people thinking it's overvalued. According to its most recent quarterly report, Craft Brewers Alliance only had $13,000 in cash and equivalents and a current ratio below 0.9. Not the most reassuring numbers...
At the beck and call of Bud and Beck's
What's more, the company is at the beck and call of Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD). The beer giant gets to appoint two members of CBA's board of directors, and has a slew of limitations on the company's freedom -- not to mention its ownership of roughly 35% of Craft Brewers's stock.
Craft Brewers Alliance also has a deal to use Anheuser-Busch InBev's distribution system (which is a good thing, giving the smaller company nationwide distribution), but Anheuser-Busch InBev generates quite a bit of fees from this. And as Anheuser-Busch InBev offers this option to more and more craft brewers, what once might have been the craft niche's serious advantage in this highly competitive market will erode.
I'm not just a fan of the craft-brew category. I'm also convinced of its long-term consumer appeal and huge potential for growth. Craft beer is really beginning to catch on, and not just among my own Whole-Foods-obsessed, vegan-shoe-wearing, often-tiresomely sanctimonious-about-what-they-consume yuppie crowd.
According to the Craft Brewers Alliance's last annual report, "Shipments of craft beer in the United States in 2009 are estimated by industry sources to have increased by approximately 7.2% over 2008 shipments, up from a 5.9% shipment increase for 2008 from 2007. The growth rate of the craft beer segment ran counter to the activity in every other segment of the beer industry." Long term, this popularity bodes well for Craft Brewers Alliance, its mission and its bottom line.
Sure, you might not hold up Craft Brewers Alliance as a pillar of financial strength right now. But the company is free cash flow-positive -- not bad for a fairly small business.
Now the part about me being followed
Furthermore, I keep seeing Craft Brewers Alliance brands everywhere I go. A weekend or two ago, at a sports bar, I found the place had Long Hammer IPA on draft (delicious but strong -- watch that 6.5% ABV). Then at Safeway, shopping for Super Bowl snacks, I saw Craft Brewers's brands in three different places along the beer aisle. On game day, a friend brought over a six-pack of -- what else? -- Widmer Hefeweizen, another of the company's beers.
"HOOK is stalking you," said my husband.
"Or I'm stalking it," I said.
But I can't be the only one having this experience, right? Isn't this little beer company becoming ubiquitous? I believe it is, which is why I've finally bought some of its stock. In for an excellent hefeweizen, in for some shares. Watch this space.
16 Фев. 2011