Tatarstan Alcohol Inspection Service meeting —

Photo: Maxim Platonov

Illegal businessmen working in remote border districts where there are still no retail stores are undermining the alcohol market in Tatarstan. The problem was expressed at a meeting of the correspondent of the alcohol inspection service of the republic Realnoe Vremya. “It is necessary to work more actively and develop stores with targeted programs,” Deputy Prime Minister of the republic Rustam Nigmatullin urged the public to deal decisively with smugglers, indicating that in 2020 these “men d’affaires” managed to obtain 5% of the annual sales of vodka from a Republican producer. Brewers ended the year without losses – they provided the Treasury with one billion rubles in excise duties more than a year earlier, more than 12 billion rubles.

Have you started drinking less?

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

The head of the republic’s State Alcohol Inspection Service, Jaudat Akhmetkhanov, described such a trend in the Tatarstan alcohol market. According to the service, 5.6 million dal of alcohol were sold in the republic, up 99% from 2020. Additionally, 2.6 million dal of vodka were sold, up 96% from 2020 In contrast, beer sales rose for nine months, to 17.3 million dal. Apparently, for this reason, he began his relationship with the dynamics of beer.

Beer market under control

First of all, the speaker reminded the audience that “extraordinary measures” have been 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-liter bottle of beer (cheaper beer cannot be found in the store). Jaudat Akhmetkhanov clarified that the lowest retail price was introduced as a recommendation of the Tatarstan Beer Association.

According to Jaudat Akhmetkhanov, 5.6 million dal of alcohol were sold in the republic, which is 99% compared to 2020. Photo: Maxim Platonov

To put it simply, all outlets in the republic only sell labeled draft beer.

Beer sales remain at 2020 levels

Despite the suddenly tightened control, the beer market did not shrink. As the report reads, major beer makers have saved production volumes to 2020 levels. Tatspirtprom’s White Kremlin brewery has therefore increased its production by 101%, to 12.4 million dal. The Kazan branch of AB InBev Efes produced 38.7 million dals, or 100% compared to 2020. Chelny’s Bulgarpivo increased its production to 3.7 million dals, or 101%, after some cuts the last year.

55 million dal of beer were produced in the republic, which corresponds to the level of 2020. As a result, 12.7 billion rubles of excise duties were transferred to the Treasury, while 11.7 billion rubles were transferred one year earlier.

“We want to expand the beer market through honest players, not let illegal players in,” Tatarstan Beer Association head Rinat Akchurin said in an interview with Realnoe Vremya.

However, it is not clear whether the experiment will extend to Russia, noted Tatarstan State Liquor Inspectorate Deputy Head Rustem Arslanov.

Smugglers at the border

It can be said that “tough” fights against counterfeiting are taking place in the vodka market. As Jaudat Akhmetkhanov said, illegal sales flourish in the border districts of Tatarstan where there are no outlets.

Because of this, legal vodka sales are plummeting. According to the agency, the Republican producer’s vodka sales fell by 5%. Again, the head of inspection offered to increase the number of stores in the countryside.

However, there is ground work. According to the head of Tatarstan’s State Liquor Inspectorate, licenses were obtained to open 310 stores in 30 municipalities last year.

Tatspirtprom asked to ship more

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

Later, the Deputy Director of the State Alcohol Inspectorate of Tatarstan, Rustem Arslanov, explained that it was a question of improving the uninterrupted supply of vodka to the shops of independent traders. “The supply of the large federal chains is going well, since the agreement provides for fines,” he explained.

Deputy head of the Tatarstan office of the Russian consumer rights body Marina Trofimova reported an increase in acute alcohol poisoning in the republic. According to his data, their number has increased 1.5 times: from 465 cases in 2020 to 695 in 2021. In addition, there have been 238 deaths, including among adolescents. Also, a 17-year-old girl poisoned by illegal alcohol died in Nizhnekamsk.

Rustam Nigmatullin said there is a need to increase the number of rural stores

At the end of the report, Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Rustam Nigmatullin praised brewers who have saved on production volumes: “The amount of excise duty has increased by one billion rubles,” said he rejoiced and pointed out areas that need improvement.

“If the drop in sales is insignificant, the drop in production in the republic amounts to 3%, the production of vodka to 5%. The main reason for the fall is a smaller number of stores in the countryside,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan agreed and said that it is necessary to increase the number of rural stores.

Luiza Ignatieva


Rose D. Jones