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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.

India. Keeping a watch on Mallya crisis: Heineken

Dutch beer giant Heineken said it was "following developments" its Indian partner Vijay Mallya is embroiled in but will not comment right now. Speculation has been gaining ground that Heineken might hasten the move to take full control of United Breweries, makers of Kingfisher beer, of which Mallya remains chairman.

Heineken owns 42% while Mallya holds 32.8% in UBL. But mostof Mallya's shares in the company are pledged to banks and some offered as security to Diageo as part of loan guarantees extended to F-1 team Force India. The foreign partner has been mopping up pledged shares offloaded by the lenders in the past. As banks take aggressive steps to recover unserviced loans of Kingfisher Airlines, more shares owned by Mallya may come into the market, giving Heineken a chance to hike its shareholding.

"We have been following developments in the Indian press recently. But we would not comment at this stage," a Heineken spokesperson said over the phone from Amsterdam while responding to TOI's queries regarding the latest development. Unlike in the case of Diageo, Mallya has had stable ties with the family-run Heineken, whichhasbeen a patient partner till date.

But Mallya'songoing personalcrisis may havedashed allhishopesof negotiating a sale to Heineken at a premium, sources said. "Any settlement with the banks will involve his UBL shares and the current scenario does not provide Mallya much room to negotiate," an industry sourcesaid. Mallya'sholdings in the company is worth around Rs 7,000 crore at current market value.

Heineken entered UBL through an acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle (S&N), the original foreign partner of Mallya. In fact, S&N representatives on UBL board had expressed concerns about Mallya's decision to use Kingfisher brand for the civil aviation foray a decade ago.

11 Мар. 2016



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