Tatarstan alcohol business: brewers’ extra billion in treasury, while Tatspirtprom loses 5% of vodka sales

Tatarstan alcohol business: brewers’ extra billion in treasury, while Tatspirtprom loses 5% of vodka sales
Photo: Maxim Platonov

Illegal businesspeople working in remote borderline districts where there is still no retail store undermine the Tatarstan alcohol market. The problem was voiced at a meeting of the republic’s Alcohol Inspection Service Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent attended. “It is necessary to work more actively and develop stores with target programmes,” Vice Premier of the republic Rustam Nigmatullin urged the audience to decisively cope with bootleggers indicating that in 2020 such “businesspeople” managed to get 5% of annual vodka sales from a republican producer. Brewers ended the year without losses — they provided the treasury with a billion rubles of excises more than a year earlier, over 12 billion rubles.

Started to drink less?

The post-pandemic syndrome of less interest in alcohol becomes chronic: the curve of legal sales have been falling almost in all strong alcoholic drinks for the second year in a row, only brewers avoided a fall this time.

Head of the republic’s State Alcohol Inspection Service Jaudat Akhmetkhanov described such a tendency in the Tatarstan alcohol market. According to the service, 5,6 million dal of alcohol was sold in the republic, which is 99% compared to 2020. Moreover, 2,6 million dal of vodka was sold, or 96% compared to 2020. In contrast, beer sales grew for nine months, to 17,3 million dal. Seemingly, for this reason, he started his report with the beer dynamics.

Beer market under control

First of all, the speaker reminded the audience that “extraordinary measures” taken to curb illegal turnover in the beer market for two years in the republic. Firstly, the lowest retail prices are still in force in the republic, which is 38 rubles per half a litre of a beer bottle (cheaper beer cannot be found in the store). Jaudat Akhmetkhanov specified that the lowest retail price was introduced as a recommendation on the Tatarstan Beer Association.

According to Jaudat Akhmetkhanov, 5,6 million dal of alcohol was sold in the republic, which is 99% compared to 2020. Photo: Maxim Platonov

To put it simply, all sales points in the republic sell only labelled beer on tap.

Beer sales stay at 2020 level

Despite the suddenly tightened control, the beer market didn’t decrease. As the report read, big beer manufacturers saved production volumes at the 2020 level. So Tatspirtprom’s White Kremlin brewery ramped up production by 101%, to 12,4 million dal. The Kazan branch of AB InBev Efes produced 38,7 million dal, or 100% compared to 2020. Chelny’s Bulgarpivo increased production to 3,7 million dal, or 101%, after some cut last year.

55 million dal of beer was produced in the republic, which corresponds to the level of 2020. As a result, 12,7 billion rubles of excises were transferred to the treasury, while 11,7 billion rubles were a year earlier.

“We want to expand the beer market thanks to honest players, not let illegal ones in,” noted head of the Tatarstan Beer Association Rinat Akchurin in a talk with Realnoe Vremya.

However, it remained unclear if the experiment will spread to Russia, noted vice head of the Tatarstan State Alcohol Inspection Rustem Arslanov.

Bootleggers on the border

We can say “tough” fights against counterfeit are taking place in the vodka market. As Jaudat Akhmetkhanov said, the illegal turnover blossoms in borderline districts of Tatarstan where there aren’t sales points.

For this reason, legal vodka sales fall. According to the agency, vodka sales of the republican producer reduced by 5%. Again, the head of the inspection offered to increase the number of stores in the countryside.

However, there is some groundwork. According to the head of the Tatarstan State Alcohol Inspection, there were obtained licences to open 310 stores in 30 municipalities last year.

Tatspirtprom asked to ship more

At the same time, the speaker asked Tatspirtprom itself to work with retail stores more actively. “Unfortunately, there are some problems with vodka supplies to retail stores,” said Jaudat Akhmetkhanov.

Later, vice director of the Tatarstan State Alcohol Inspection Rustem Arslanov explained that they meant improving uninterrupted vodka supplies to sole traders’ stores. “Supplies to large federal chains run smoothly, since the agreement envisages fines,” he explained.

Vice Chairwoman of the Tatarstan office of Russia’s consumer rights protection watchdog Marina Trofimova said about a rise in acute alcohol poisoning in the republic. According to her data, their number rose 1,5 times: from 465 cases in 2020 to 695 in 2021. Also, there were 238 deaths, including among teenagers. Also, a 17-year-old girl who was poisoned by illegal alcohol died in Nizhnekamsk.

Rustam Nigmatullin said it was necessary to increase the number of rural stores

At the end of the report, Vice Prime Minister of Tatarstan Rustam Nigmatullin praised brewers who saved production volumes: “The amount of excises rose by a billion rubles,” he was glad and indicated areas that need to be improved.

“If the fall in sales is insignificant, the decrease in the republic’s production totalled 3%, vodka output did by 5%. The main reason for the fall is a smaller number of stores in the countryside,” the Tatarstan vice premier agreed and said it was necessary to increase the number of rural stores.

Luiza Ignatyeva