Vadim Drobiz – Head of the Center for Federal and Regional Alcohol Market Research (CFRAMR)
Week on February 29 – March 6, 2016
According to official state statistics in Russia in 2015 were consumed 3.95 liters of wine per capita. This is 4 times less than was drunk wine in the former USSR. (This is without taking into account drinking illegal wine.)
In 2015 in Russia was drunk 1.1 billion liters of wine (still wine, sparkling wine and wine beverages.) Of this amount, 0.3 billion liters was made in Russia. This is less than 30%. The rest – brought from abroad in the form of a bulk. Of this amount, 40% comes from imports of wine bulk from Ukraine. And this situation will not change until 2020. There is chance of a small increase in consumption of wine to 1.2 billion liters per year, and Russia’s own wine material will be about 0.35 – 0.37 billion liters.
I want to note that in Russia last year imported table grapes accounted for 90% of the purchased grapes. At the same time, in our country, where 65% much poorer then the population in Western Europe, the grapes are sold for very European prices …
In Russia in 2015 in the legal retail were bought 5.9 liters of vodka per capita.
Beer production in Russia from 2007 to 2014 decreased by 40%. During 8 years in Russia were closed 20 major breweries production capacity of not less than 10 million liters per year each. And this trend continues. In fact, the real fall somewhat less: at least 350 million liters of beer was spent on the production of beer beverages. Add to this a strong 8-years duration demographic crisis in sector of beer consumers. It is also strongly influenced on the structure of consumption by the socio – economic crisis in Russia. There are huge amounts of illegal beer in draft form, etc.
In Russia today huge amounts of any alcohol sold in unlicensed retail. All regions recognize that over the last 4 years trade is full of illegal – surrogate alcohol and could not to do anything with illegal unlicensed retailers. In my opinion, if legally sell alcohol in the country 235,000 objects of trade, it is not less than 700 000 objects doing it illegally.
In the State Duma suggested a proposal to introduce a state monopoly on the production of sugar, alcohol and drugs. I believe that the fight against surrogate alcohol and the creation of state monopolies – it is absolutely different things. There is no fundamental difference in who produces alcohol. Today in Russia, the state does not produce or does not sell alcohol, but, nevertheless, there is an illegal market. And after the introduction of a state monopoly will remain as it is now. Half of the output will produce a state, and the other half – illegal private traders. There is a good example of Ukraine. Ukrainian alcohol for 20 years is made on the state-owned enterprises, and near half of the vodka market has always been illegal. Now Ukraine is just struggling to privatize state alcohol manufacturers. And in Russia, the movement is in the opposite direction. Russian MPs believe that if everything will be in hands of the state, then all will be well, and the Ukrainians on the contrary, are pinning their hopes on private traders.
At the same time no one wonders why there is such a demand for illegal alcohol? And the thing is the price of a legal product. In all post-Soviet countries for the general population legal alcohol is very expensive.
On the unemployment benefit citizen of the European Union or the United States can buy 200 bottles of legal vodka. Russian on his unemployment benefits can buy 10 times less – only 20 bottles. On the minimum wage can buy 30 bottles of vodka. These figures I cite to illustrate the level of prices. Therefore, in Europe for economic reasons no demand for surrogate product, although there illicit market is approximately 10-12%. In Russia illegal or surrogate hard liquor accounts for 65%. Therefore, the state monopoly on alcohol production is absolutely meaningless.
According to the National Wine Agency, in 2015 the export of Georgian wine to China amounted to 2,675,154 bottles, in the United States – 248,075.