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4-2017

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.

Russia. Beer production to decrease by only 5.1%, the USAIS «helped» to improve forecasts

According to Rosstat, in 2015 beer production in Russia decreased by 5.1% against 2014. However, in December 2015, beer production in Russia increased by 13% compared to the same period of 2014 and by 23.2% compared to November 2015.

Probably, the sharp increase in production at the end of the year is not due to the market factors, but the desire of brewers to overstock the warehouses of distributors and retailers in the run-up to joining of the wholesale and retail segment to the Unified State Automated Information System of registration of alcohol (USAIS).

The concerns of brewers were not groundless as constant failures and problems with the system settings occurred. In particular, on Friday, January 22, the USAIS hung and was not operating for a few hours, as several participants of the alcohol market out of the wholesalers for whom joining to the USAIS became obligatory since January 1, 2016, said to the newspaper "Vedomosti".

The disruptions of the accounting system began about 14.00 by Moscow time, as Herman Epstein, the Vice President for information technology of the Baltika brewing company (Russian subsidiary of Carlsberg Group) said to "Vedomosti". The system started responding to requests so slowly that we had to temporarily suspend the efforts of documents’ registration.

In cases where trucks had already left to the recipients, they also failed to register the acceptance. "There are queues of cars near all retail chains. And, if beer is in the freezing temperature for a few hours, it turns to Ice beer," jokes Epstein. The disruptions in the USAIS operation ended only by Friday evening, he said.

According to Epstein, the losses due to the disruptions will be calculated from the cost of spoiled beer, fines from the retail chains, transport downtime and the payment of overtime to employees. How much the downtime of the USAIS will cost Baltika has not been counted yet. "If the system hangs for an hour, then the net losses are about 10% of the cost of shipment, then this percentage increases significantly every hour," said the interlocutor to "Vedomosti".

27 Янв. 2016

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