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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.

Japanese cult-favourite craft beer now brewed in Hong Kong

Hitachino Nest’s first and so far only overseas brewery has opened in Fo Tan as the company seeks to tap the vast Chinese market.

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A craft beer revolution is brewing in Hong Kong, and one of the latest producers to join the movement is Japan’s Hitachino Nest, which recently set up a 7,500 sq ft brewery in Fo Tan.

Based in Ibaraki prefecture, north­east of Tokyo, the Hitachino Nest brand belongs to the Kiuchi Brewery, which has been making sake since 1823. Kiuchi launched Hitachino Nest after the relaxation of micro-brewing regu­lations in Japan, in 1994.

The brewer’s logo features a kawaii owl and the beer has become a cult favourite across the globe.

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“Even the critically acclaimed New York fine-dining restaurant Eleven Madison Park serves our beer,” says Toshiyuki Kiuchi, the eighth generation to run the family business.

In Hong Kong, Hitachino Nest beer can be enjoyed with Thai food at Mak Mak, in Central, with Japanese curry at Tiger Curry, in Causeway Bay, and with contemporary Japanese dishes at Nobu, in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The Fo Tan brewery is Hitachino Nest’s first and only overseas production facility.

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“Importing into mainland China directly from Japan is difficult,” which is where a made-in-Hong Kong label comes in handy, says Kiuchi. “Setting up a brewery in mainland China is also difficult. We have good local partners in Hong Kong.”

Kouji Tani, Hitachino Nest’s Japan-based brewmaster, visits the Fo Tan brewery regularly, but daily operations are led by Christopher Wong See-wai, one of the founders of home-brew company HK Brewcraft.

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The Fo Tan brewery’s beers include the popular White Ale, a refreshing, unfiltered Belgian-style ale made with orange juice and spices such as coriander and nutmeg; the fruity Dai Dai Ale; and a dark Espresso Stout; as well as seasonal drinks, such as Amarillo Session, featur­ing North American Amarillo hops.

Kiuchi hopes the Hong Kong-made beers will taste just like the ones from his Japanese brewery. The malt, yeast and hops used in Fo Tan are the same as those used at the parent brewery, which leaves only the final, most important ingredient: water.

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“We have installed filters here, and it’s good. We are happy with the quality of the water,” Kiuchi says.

And while he acknowledges it’s important to maintain the flavours that enthusiasts have come to know and love, Hitachino Nest is also planning something different for the local market – a Hong Kong edition is in the works.

31 Авг. 2016

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