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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.

Japan. Retailers move into brewing

Major retailers are stepping up efforts to compete with leading beer manufacturers by developing and marketing low-priced house-brand beer.

In recent years, these retailers have been increasing their sales of low-priced beer and beerlike beverages as the domestic beer market shrinks.

The market includes conventional beer, low-malt happoshu and no-malt "third-category" beerlike products often made with soybeans, corn or peas.

The private brand beer items marketed to date are mainly third-category items.

Supermarket chain operator Aeon Co. started marketing its own beer product, Topvalu Barreal Lager Beer, on Tuesday. Aeon's new product is the nation's first private- brand regular beer. The 350-milliliter can of Barreal beer is priced at 158 yen, about 20 percent to 30 percent cheaper than rival products marketed by major beer companies. Aeon has said it aims to sell 100 million cans a year.

According to Aeon, the low pricing is made possible by measures such as outsourcing the beer's production to a South Korean brewer and cutting shipping costs with the use of its distribution networks.

Kenji Horii, general manager of Aeon's Topvalu merchandise division, said Monday at a press conference, "We've now reached the point that we need to reconsider the conventional wisdom in the beer industry."

Another leading supermarket chain operator, Daiei Inc., released the third-category beerlike product "Neu Welt" in 2007, while Seven & i Holdings Co. introduced a similar product called "The Brew" in 2009. Other retailers also have focused on third-category beerlike products for their house-brand products.

Home center chain operator Cainz Home has also made inroads into this field by launching its "Kogane" beverage in August last year. Such beerlike products are priced 10 percent to 40 percent lower than beer products from major brewers.

In the first half of this year, shipments of third-category beers developed by retailers are estimated to rise to 7 million cases, a 70 percent increase from the previous year, accounting for more than 3 percent of the nation's beer market.

Major brewers have begun to view such private-brand products with trepidation.

"As the economy has stagnated, low-priced private-brand items are likely to establish their position. We have to fend them off by improving our brands," an official of one brewer said.

10 Авг. 2011



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