According to the latest data by the World Health Organisation, average per capita consumption of alcoholic drinks among Russians above 15 years of age equalled 13.9 liters in 2016 – this is one of the highest rates in the world. Higher values can only be observed in some of the neighbouring countries, namely 18.2 litres in Lithuania, 16.5 litres in Belarus, and 15.9 litres in Moldova. All in all, virtually all countries in Eastern Europe form the most drinking region on Earth.
The Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation states that in the past year, an average Russian citizen drank 0.2 litres of absolute alcohol less than in 2015. Said decline equals 0.5 litres of vodka or 5 litres of beer. This trend can be explained by the modern fashion for a healthy lifestyle that has been established in recent years. In addition, the decrease in alcohol consumption is partially contributed to by the ban on sales during night hours imposed in 2013.
Data by the ministry that was published earlier indicates that the trend for a decline in alcohol consumption has been observed for several years. According to statistics by the agency, in 2014 the alcohol consumption index equalled 11.78 litres per capita, whereas in 2013 it equalled 11.87 litres. Said figures are lower than those by the WHO, as their method involves dividing the total volume of alcohol consumed in the country by the number of citizens over 15, whereas the Russian ministry divides it by Russia’s total population.
Data by the Ministry of Healthcare on declining alcohol consumption are confirmed by information by Rosstat indicating a drop in alcoholic beverage sales. The ‘Socio-economic Situation in Russia’ report with updated data for 2016 suggests that sales of alcoholic drinks in absolute alcohol terms amounted to 968 million litres – 2.4% lower than in the previous year. Sales of low-alcohol drinks, sparkling wines and beer-based beverages decreased the most – by 12.2%, 6.9% and 5.6% respectively. Vodka and liquor sales remained virtually at the same level (-0.6%). The volume of cognac sales declined by 2.4%, whereas still wine sales decreased by 3.1%. At the same time, there was a 40.6% increase in sales of cider, perry, mead and other beverages in the category of ‘other alcoholic products’.
Healthy lifestyle as a separate value has been getting more and more widespread. It should be noted that this trend is most prominent among young people. In addition, one should not forget that citizens aged 18–55 constitute the main group of consumers of alcoholic beverages, and the gaping hole in Russia’s demographics in the 1990s resulted in the number of alcohol consumers simply having physically decreased in the past 10 years.
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION VOLUMES
728 million decalitres of beer of different varieties were bottled in 2016 – 26.8% less than in 2011, when 994 million decalitres were produced. Said trend may be regarded from the positive point of view: consumption of beer has been declining in all age groups, including adolescents in cities. Drinking beer is no longer in fashion.
Ambiguous production dynamics can be observed in the segment of vodka: whereas in 2015 its output dropped to its minimum value throughout the history of modern Russia, amounting to 63 million decalitres, in 2016 production increased to 73 million decalitres.
A negative trend is present in the segment of table wines as well. In 2016, domestic companies supplied 37 million tons of wine to the market, which is 7.5% less than in 2015. One of the features of this market is its high dependence on imports: the beer and vodka industries mainly rely on domestic companies, whereas wine is mostly imported. The specifics of the Russian climate do not allow for successful grapevine cultivation in most regions of the country. Wines produced in Krasnodar Krai and other southern parts of the country are not currently sufficient to satisfy the demand.
Production of cognacs has been staying at the level of 8–10 million decalitres during the past few years.
AVERAGE RETAIL PRICES
Regarding average retail prices for the main types of alcoholic beverages, their planned increase is to be highlighted. In July 2017, a litre of domestic cognac cost 1,302 rubles on average, which is 0.1% higher than in July 2016. A litre of vodka was being sold at 600 rubles, which is 4.3% more expensive than a year earlier. Domestic sparkling wines were sold at 318 rubles per litre – price growth equalled 6.4%, whereas domestically produced beer had an average price of 108 rubles per litre, which is 4.9% higher than the level of the previous year.
According to data in the Globas database (product by information agency “Credinform”), today there are only 7 manufacturers of alcoholic drinks in Russia having demonstrated revenue of over 10 billion rubles in 2016. These are mainly breweries that produce widely known brands.
Since 2009, a gradual decline in average per capita alcohol consumption has been observed, which is a result of active social advertising and various forms of healthy lifestyle propaganda. In addition, other types of leisure have become more easily accessible – for instance, sports.
Information Agency “Credinform”