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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.

Guinness brings bottled Black Lager to the US

Guinness Black Lager, tested recently in both Northern Ireland and Malaysia, is the company’s first foray into the craft beer market, with the fabled Irish brewer looking to develop a beer with the taste of a lager and the character of Guinness.

With the US launch of the new product nearing, Guinness’ master brewer Fergal Murray is a man with beer on his mind. He recently sat down with The Irish Emigrant at Boston’s Westin Hotel for a chat about the new bottled product.

“When served ice cold, it’s effervescent and crisp like a natural lager,” Murray says of Black Lager, which is light and crisp with a hint of malt and a slight hop finish.

“Then you get that wonderful back of the throat character that is unique to Guinness.”

The lager, which will have a dark black color and a 4.5% ABV, is packaged in 11.2 oz bottles with blue and silver accents. Murray sees it as taking Guinness down a road it has not yet traveled, with the US seen as an ideal launch pad as craft beers enjoy a renaissance here.

His enthusiasm for all things Guinness should come as no surprise, having spent some 28 years brewing “the black stuff.” Asked how he landed a job most could only dream of, he says it was not expected.

“I got a job back in the ‘80s,” he said of a time when not many Irish were finding things easy. “It was a tough time in Ireland and I was very lucky to get a job at the brewery. From there, the magic of St. James’s Gate took over.”

St. James’s Gate, of course, is the legendary Dublin site where Guinness is made. According to lore, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for the brewery in 1759 at ?45 per year; some call it one of the shrewdest business decisions in history.

These days, Murray sees himself as more of an ambassador for Guinness, but says he does miss the hands-on aspect of brewing. Genuinely excited about the launch, he says he cannot wait to see how people react to Guinness Black Lager.

Asked if the new beer will “travel”, he elaborated on how it won’t change as it makes its way across the globe, but might taste slightly different in Ireland, for obvious reasons.

“When you come to the home of Guinness, your expectations naturally rise,” he said of the effect surroundings can have on the palate. “Your senses are a bit more aware. It’s like drinking Burgundy while in the Burgundy region of France or having tequila in Mexico.”

Guinness Black Lager, to be enjoyed ice cold straight from the bottle, will launch across the US in September, with pricing in line with other premium import beers.

31 Авг. 2011



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