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3-2019

Russia: Positions of Brewing Companies

The review contains an analysis of interim performance of brewers in the first half of 2019. There are rather dynamic changes behind a modest industry growth. Baltika is again experiencing a stage of volumes and market share slid due to competition with AB InBev Efes. Because of the price competition and presence expansion in the modern trade company #2. has come close to the leading position. At the same time sales of Heineken Russia have continued growing which makes the premium part of the portfolio heavier. The market premiumization trend had been also confirmed by import brands. MBC and Zavod Trekhsosenskiy have been the most successful among federal market players. The market share of independent regional brewers and Ochakovo have continued falling as they are being squeezed out by the market leaders at their competitive fields.

Ukrainian beer market 2019: companies and brands

In 2019 beer production and market have been still fluctuating about zero point. However, the past season was successful for brewers judging by the sales profitability. The price mix has improved due to rapid general market premiumization, as well as its particular aspect, the growth of import beer sales. By the season end AB InBev Efes improved its positions considerably. It turned out that consumers had not forgot Efes brands that had to leave the market, but started to recover rapidly. Against the stagnating market that meant sales decline of other companies, in the first place Carlsberg Group that most of all beneficiated from Efes exiting the market. PPB turned out to be stable to branding activity of its competitor and Obolon kept the same volumes and at the moment it is the absolute leader of the economy segment. The share growth of independent producers took place thanks to leading craft breweries, that so far do not have a big market weight, but they are rapidly gaining it.

Brewing industry in Kazakhstan 2019

During the first half of 2019, the majority of Kazakh brewers made their contribution into positive dynamics. Yet it was companies of the lower division, not the two transnational leaders that raised their production and sales. The shares of draft beer and aluminum can which is rapidly squeezing glass bottle out of the market, have been growing. The price segmentation has remained stable despite the substantial rise of retail prices and fluctuations of brand market shares, while the borders between segments have become blurred. The main events in the industry have been: the announced revision of the beer excise policy, launch of BeerKhan brand in the strong beer segment, and most important – purchasing assets of Shymkentbeer by Arasan.

Does North Korea Make the Best Beer in Asia?

North Korea may lag far behind its Asian neighbors in nearly everything — economic development, Olympic medals, and human rights, to name a few — but there’s at least one area where it remains competitive: beer.

This photo taken on August 12, 2016 shows a waitress carrying jugs of beer to guests before the opening of the Pyongyang Taedonggang Beer Festival on the banks of the Taedong river in Pyongyang. / AFP / Kim Won-Jin        (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

This photo taken on August 12, 2016 shows a waitress carrying jugs of beer to guests before the opening of the Pyongyang Taedonggang Beer Festival on the banks of the Taedong river in Pyongyang. 

The capital city of Pyongyang is currently hosting the country’s first beer festival — scheduled to last through early September — which on opening day reportedly drew some 800 local and foreign guests to enjoy pretzels, barbecue, patriotic music, and of course, local brew. The festival is intended to promote North Korea’s flagship Taedonggang beer, named after the river that flows through Pyongyang. “It’s really refreshing, it’s tasty, it’s got just a little bit of sweetness,” one local attendee told The Telegraph. “I think there’s no other beer in the world that tastes like our Taedonggang Beer.”

But it’s not just North Koreans who think highly of their country’s brew. Simon Cockerell, who has been taking foreign tour groups into the country since 2002 for the British-run Koryo Tours, says his tourists nearly always have a positive reaction to the local beer. “This could be initially because expectations are low, of course,” he said. “But then again, the beer is very good, easily better than the vast majority of Chinese beers, and — although one can get in trouble for claiming this in South Korea — clearly vastly superior to the mass-market South Korean stuff.”

Taedonggang — the country’s only “macro” brewer — was created at the behest of the late leader Kim Jong-il in the early 2000s when North Korea acquired a shuttered British brewery and shipped it piece-by-piece back to Pyongyang. By 2008, it reportedly employed 350 workers. The Pyongyang Beer Festival exclusively served the brewery’s seven beverages, named — in true socialist fashion — Taedonggang 1, Taedonggang 2, Taedonggang 3, etc. Cockerell described Number 1 as a “delicious, proper beer” made completely with barley, while the others included lighter concoctions and iterations of coffee stouts and chocolate stouts.

Josh Thomas, an American amateur brewer who was based in Hong Kong for five years, has tried what he described as an “absolutely insane amount” of Asian beers. He said that Taedonggang is “significantly better” than any other mass-market beer on the continent, chiefly because the best-selling beers of North Korea’s neighbors — Cass and Hite in South Korea, Snow and Tsingtao in China, and Asahi Super Dry and Kirin in Japan — are rice-based, light, and somewhat watered down. But since rice is so scarce in North Korea, brewers there tend to rely more on barley, which makes beer darker, maltier, and richer.

The lack of sufficient electricity for large-scale refrigeration, likewise, limits what sorts of beers are produced. Higher brewing temperatures thus yield more ales and “steam beer.” Thomas likened Taedonggang 1 to the American beer Anchor Steam.

But Taedonggang only accounts for part of the North Korean beer market. Since the lack of fuel and good transportation networks have traditionally made it difficult to ship beer around the country, there are a wide array of microbreweries. Many produce what’s akin to low-quality home brew, but higher-end hotels, restaurants, and bars that cater to privileged locals and foreigners can yield more interesting concoctions.

In 2013, Thomas organized a customized “beer tour” of North Korea and encountered everything from oatmeal stouts and chocolate porters to pale ales. “Some are fantastic, like the Yanggakdo Hotel brewery bar,” he recalled. “And some are pretty bad — like the beer at the bowling alley.”

Of course, in a country that still struggles to feed its population, most locals don’t have the means to enjoy these high-end brews. That doesn’t mean they don’t drink though. Cockrell said that most North Koreans still prefer soju liquor, which is easier to produce and yields more alcohol for the money. But there are now “a huge number” of bars in Pyongyang, and beer can be found throughout the country. He says that Pyongyang men (but not women) now even receive vouchers for beer rations, which can get them around one-to-two liters of free beer at lower-end bars each month.

“I would say the average Pyongyang man would drink beer fairly frequently — at least once a week,” Cockrell said. “People in the countryside drink less often, and some never at all. Beer culture is something still developing — it is mainly still men going to a bar after work, drinking a couple of beers, and then going home… It is more of a utilitarian approach to consumption.”

Foreign beer enthusiasts, however, are often delighted by the unexpected richness of North Korea’s craft beer scene. For Josh Thomas, one of the things that stuck out most on his tour was how the very limited ingredients and brewing technology seemed to — for better or worse — force innovations he’d not seen anywhere else. “North Koreans are incredibly clever at making do with very little,” he said in an interview with Wired shortly after his trip. “They honestly were able to make more interesting beers than most other countries of the world.”

17 Авг. 2016

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