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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.

China. Craft Beer in Suzhou: Birdland

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Craft beers, microbreweries and tap houses have helped give a much needed shot in the arm to an ailing drinks industry in recent years, and it’s a trend that’s now hitting up Suzhou.

 

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Since opening in June 2016, newbie bar Birdland - named after the anthemic track by rock icon Patti Smith – is already pulling in a loyal fanbase of serious imbibers, evidently tiring of the city’s cookie-cutter bars and their almost identical drinks lists. And with a choice of 12 beers on draught, all sourced from regional microbreweries (two in Suzhou), plus another 100 craft ales, porters and stouts from all over the world, it’s little wonder there’s standing room only on weekends.

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School nights are therefore the wiser option if you’re looking for a more chilled-out session and chat. Strength-wise, you’ve got everything from 2.5% fruit beers, right up to an IPA charmingly named ‘Raging Bitch’ (45RMB) weighing in at a headache-inducing 8.3%. We also retain a soft spot for the Jasmine Tea Lager (35RMB) and the Hard Wired Nitro Coffee Porter (65RMB), if you’re looking for something a bit leftfield. And for the increasing number of gluten intolerant among us, this is one of only a handful of Suzhou hostelries that offers a gluten-free option, the Vagabond Pale Ale (45RMB) courtesy of Brewdog from the UK.

Birdland is fortuitously located in the same building as one of Suzhou’s scarce budget hostels although, in truth, it’s quickly outgrowing the walk-in business from there. And with imminent plans to start their own on-site microbrewery, we predict this is one bar that will soon be welcoming punters from much further afield.

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24 Авг. 2016

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