Dmitry Nekrasov’s Philosophy — on the Past, Present and Future of Ukrainian Brewing IndustryA meeting with Dmitry Nekrasov always turns into a training course: “Introduction to brewing business“. We are talking to a clever “playing trainer“ a person that can be called a godfather of the Ukrainian craft. He has a dozen of successful projects to his name. Dmitry told us about craft beer in Ukraine, on market cycles, on specifity of operating in retail and HoReCa, on union of Ukrainian brewers and certainly, how a brewery of his own, First Dnipro Brewery is doing.
The market of import beer in Russia: review and databasesThe market of import beer is rapidly growing and changing. But while in the past years it was growing due to brands variety, in 2019 major and affordable brands from TOP-10 were developing actively. It seems that the fact of a brand origin from far abroad counties, even if it is not well known but has moderate price and good distribution provides for million liters of sales in the territory of Russia. Among distributors AB InBev Efes was far behind, yet the role of Baltika and suppliers of the second row got more important. The boom of German brands was followed by stagnation of import from other traditional regions (and Belarus) instead the supplies from Mexico, Lithuania and Asian countries grew considerably.
Russia: Positions of Brewing CompaniesThe 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 brandsIn 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 2019During 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.
The trend of complication of Russian beer market is going on and in several directions at the same time. The range has got wider, the import and small segments are growing, namely craft beer, alcohol-free beer and special flavor beer. At the same time, all ex-mega brands and light lagers by Russian brewers are experiencing a decline of their shares. AB InBev Efes, Heineken, MBC and Pivzavod Trekhsosenskiy have exceeded the market, Carlsberg was developing slower than the market and Ochakovo as well as some other mid-sized breweries have been cutting down their volumes. To a big extent brewers’ performance was connected to their ability to reach agreement with networks, sacrifice their margin and enter new markets. Craft brewers are facing a serious danger of producers’ registration introduction – de facto licensing. ...
Thailand. Born, bred (and perhaps brewed)
The place is actually Deva Farm & Cafe, arguably Thailand's first hops farm, it has, since establishing the business last year, so far housed as many as 26 species of hop plant -- the type of plant whose flowers are a key ingredient in beer brewing.
This farming initiative has come in a crucial yet controversial time: the past few years have seen a surge of popularity in craft beer -- a term known for home-made beer or imported ones -- among Thai producers and consumers while there's still a law on prohibition on small-scale beer brewing in Thailand.
According to the law, beer brewing is only legal in two cases: with industrial-scale factory producing at least 10 million litres of beer per year, such as the two biggest Thai brands Chang by Thai Beverage or Singha and Leo by Boon Rawd Brewery; or with brew-pubs like Tawandang German Brewery, which produces and sells on-site at least 100,000 litres of beer per year.
For founders of Deva Farm & Cafe, Nattachai Ungsriwong and his brother Teerapat Ungsriwong, it all started simply with the passion in alcoholic beverages -- wine, whisky and beer -- until they came across imported beers like the popular Belgian wheat beer Hoegaarden many years ago. From then on, they started to seek out for a wider variety of imported beers ever since.
"There's never one right definition for 'craft beer'," said Nattachai. "For me personally, it must be something that you create with love and care, and the commercial aspect of it is hardly part of the consideration."
Both Thai Beverage and Boon Rawd Brewery, Thailand's two biggest beer manufacturers, use imported hops. Nattachai believes that it is because the brands Chang and Singha produce lager beer, and the flavouring from hops in the recipe is not so much of an emphasis that they would invest in local farming.
Among basic ingredients like water, a starch source like malted barley and yeast for fermentation, hops work in beer brewing both as a preservative and flavouring agent. And this is where craft beer differs from mainstream lager beer. With craft beer, Nattachai said that a variety of hops is used, sometimes mixed together, in creating more distinctive characters.
"At first I just liked growing vegetables myself," said Nattachai. "But then later I got to know more about beer and finally learned how to brew it. I heard that there have been attempts to grow hops in Thailand before. There's also an idea that the plant cannot grow in this type of weather but I went ahead anyway and ordered hops rhizomes from the US just to experiment. It turned out that they have grown fine, and things got more serious from there."
Among the 26 species of hops growing at Deva Farm & Cafe are Columbus, which is citrusy and slightly woody, Chinook, which is slightly spicy and very piny, and Centennial, which gives out a strong citrus aroma. Nattachai compared the plant to grapes in that it's also a climbing plant that lasts as long as 10 years.
After four or five days of the rhizomes being buried in soil, sprouts will start to shoot out. After three to four months, the plant's bines will grow up the strings or wires to the overhead trellis as high as 6-10m. In Europe or America, after the harvest of the flowers, the plants will be cut almost to the bottom as winter approaches. Because of Thailand's warm weather, Nattachai said that the crop can enjoy a second growth cycle and consequently double its production.
The chance of small-scale beer brewing being legalised is slim, so Nattachai said he's planning to export his produce to brewing factories in neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
"In terms of the quality, I think we can surely compete with hops producers from abroad," said Nattachai. "First of all, it's just like any other plant, different locations produce different tastes and characters."
Nattachai said that it would take at least three years for the crop to reach its full potential in terms of taste. He speculated that the farm could produce as much as 1,400kg of hops per year.
Another way of making a business with his produce is a plan to open a brewpub right next to his farm soon. To be named Mitr-Sampan, the pub is co-founded with Wichit Saiklao, an army colonel, of Chitbeer, a bar on Koh Kret, considered to be the hub of Thai craft beers.
Since 2014, Col Wichit has been hosting a weekly class on beer brewing at the bar (Nattachai being one of his students) and has so far taught some 500 people, resulting in around 50 craft beer brands.Every weekend, craft beer lovers join at Chitbeer to taste new beers created by local producers. Strictly speaking, this is not entirely within the law, but Col Wichit believes in the academic purpose of his class -- he wants to educate people and create a community of beer brewers, preparing for the day when prohibition is lifted.
"Craft beer has become such a hit in the past few years because like any other things in life nowadays, we want something that fits our individuality -- what we eat, the car that we drive, the place that we go," said Col Wichit. "And beer is part of that trend. With beers in Thailand, I think of the limited choice not as a problem but as a great opportunity."
The plan for brewpub Mitr-Sampan is a testimony to this commitment, Col Wichit said. Eventually, the movement will move to the legal stage where Thai brewers will be invited to join in and showcase their talents.
Surprisingly, Col Wichit doesn't think that beer brewing should be legalised right away as in other countries. He said that craft beer is an art, and "the content" by Thai brewers is to be perfected further.
"Maybe it's some sort of psychological working, because it's illegal, people are somehow driven to learn about beer brewing more and develop their craft further," said Col Wichit.
"Just use common sense, our country has great diversity of resources, and our beers will have unique characteristics for sure -- maybe we can use mineral water from Ranong province, perhaps the fruits from the South, and so on. The future of Thai craft beer will definitely be great."
19 Авг. 2016