Beer production volumes in Russia have been declining since 2008. In 2016, beer output decreased by 0.4% compared with 2015, amounting to 727 million decalitres.
The dynamics of beer production demonstrated slight growth in January–November 2017. During the time period in question, 687.2 million decalitres of beer were produced in Russia, which is 0.9% more than in the similar period of 2016.
Regarding beer imports, 23.7 million decalitres of beer were supplied to Russia, exceeding the indicator of 2016 (16.6 million decalitres) by 43%.
The top countries supplying beer to the Russian Federation, in physical terms, were Belarus, Germany and Czech Republic – their shares in imports equalled 22, 28 and 12% respectively.
Along with growing imports, exports of beer declined. In 2017, 29.2 million decalitres of beer were exported from Russia, against 36.1 million decalitres in 2016.
The volume of retail sales in the domestic market of beer has also been demonstrating negative dynamics. The situation is typical in the context of recent years. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, the volume of beer sales in 2016 amounted to 781 million decalitres, which is 3.7% lower than the level of 2015. In 2017, sales decreased again, by 4–5%, according to estimates by the Russian Beer Union.
With the exception of several months of 2016, the volume of beer sales in 2016 was lower than in 2015.
One of the main reasons of declining beer sales is strengthening regulation – the last restriction involved a ban on production and sales of beer in plastic containers of over 1.5 litres. Declining real household incomes have been affecting the situation as well.
Sales in the Russian market of beer are characterised by pronounced seasonality. The peak falls on June-July, and is followed by a gradual reduction in sales volumes, which continues up until November. December and the following winter months have unstable indicators. The difference between monthly volumes of beer production between January and July varies from 90 to 100%.
The largest share in the structure of beer production belongs to the Central Federal District and equals 32%. The Volga and Siberian Federal District are also among the top three regions in market shares, accounting for 20.6 and 12.7% respectively.
Upon a more detailed examination, it is clear that, based on beer sale volumes, the following regions have been demonstrating the most dynamic development: Sevastopol, Bashkiria, Mordovia, Kostroma region, Mari El, Perm Krai, Khabarovsk Krai, Vologda region, Chukotka, and Kaliningrad region.
According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in March, 2017, the average price per litre of domestic beer equalled 107.3 rubles, which is 6.6% higher than the price in the similar period of 2016. Prices for imported beer demonstrated similar growth rates and amounted to 231.1 rubles per litre on average (+5.7%).
The growth in prices affected per capita consumption of beer in Russia. In 2016, a Russian resident was consuming 53.2 litres per year on average, whereas in 2011 beer consumption equalled 64 litres per year per capita. The peak in consumption fell on 2007, when the indicator reached 81.3 litres.
Despite the overall decline in the beer market, according to “Nielsen”, growth has been observed in the segment of non-alcoholic beer – in 2016 growth almost reached 12%. The undisputed leader of the segment is “Pivovarennaya Kompaniya (Brewery) “Baltika” LLC (Saint Petersburg) with the share of 60%. Drivers of growth in the category include advertising of non-alcoholic beer varieties, which falls under Federal Law No. 38-FZ ‘On Advertising’ as well as the Code of commercial communications on beer-based non-alcoholic products (developed by the Russian Beer Union in cooperation with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia).
During the past few years, a new trend has emerged, which is the modernisation of regulation in various categories of alcoholic products in accordance with their specifics of production and turnover. The concept of differentiated approach to alcohol industry regulation will contribute to the formation of ‘smart regulation’ in the industry, which involves increasing competitiveness and market openness, which, in turn, should help decrease the rate of alcohol abuse in the country.
The beer market in Russia may grow in 2018; said scenario is forecasted by the Russian Beer Union as well. This is connected with several aspects.
First of all, the excise duty has not been raised since the beginning of the year, and no new restrictions have been imposed. Non-alcoholic beer will contribute to the situation as the most promising segment, according to Kirill Bolmatov, Corporate Affairs Director at “Heineken”. Despite the decline in beer consumption, sales of non-alcoholic beer increased by 5.6% in January–September, 2017, according to the Russian Beer Union, even though the segment is rather small for now – in the third quarter of the year it accounted for 1.6% of beer sales.
The FIFA World Cup may become another important driver of growth in the market – it will take place in Russia this summer. Beer consumption is expected to grow by 5% during the event, as mentioned by Legal and Corporate Affairs Director of “SAN InBev”, Oraz Durdyev. In addition, the World Cup is held in the summer, which is the high season for brewers.