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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.

Merger headache brewing for Busch

Regulators will soon ask Anheuser-Busch InBev — the world’s biggest brewer — to make major concessions to complete its $19 billion buyout of Grupo Modelo, a well-placed source said.

Critics of the deal believe allowing Busch, with its Budweiser and other brands owning approximately 47 percent of the US beer market, to buy Modelo, whose Corona and 11 other brands control 6 percent, will give it too much pricing power.

Busch, sensing regulatory troubles, said in July it would give importer Constellation Brands the right to import all of Modelo’s beers and set distribution and pricing. But the offer appears to be one the DOJ can refuse.

There is a meeting of the regulatory cops at Justice this week and, the source said, Busch may be forced to have a third party make all beers imported into the US.

“It’s going to come down to how much Busch is willing to give up,” the source said. “They are going to have to create another competitor.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev already has 14 brands with sales of at least $1 billion each — and Modelo has three.

A banker said he believed Busch was ready to give in if the DOJ were to order Modelo’s US imports to be produced by a third party.

Perhaps that’s because ABInBev is not necessarily after Modelo’s US market share — but its 59 percent control of the Mexico beer market. Modelo, according to ABInBev, is also the leading import beer in 38 countries. Conversely, the US beer market is stagnant, with shipments eking out a small gain last year after three straight annual declines.

In its presentation to investors, Busch also says the deal will create at least $600 million in annual cost synergies, phased in over four years.

The DOJ, with jurisdiction only in the US, cannot place conditions outside the domestic market.

A Busch spokeswoman said the company is not commenting on the review and continues to expect the merger to close at the end of the first quarter. The DOJ declined to comment.

15 Янв. 2013



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