Anheuser-Busch InBev will close one of its nine breweries in Russia

Anheuser-Busch InBev will close one of its nine breweries in Russia

The Russian division of Anheuser-Busch InBev is to close one of its nine breweries in the country, as a result of “drastic changes” in the beer market.

SUN InBev confirmed to just-drinks earlier today (8 August) that it will close its facility in Kursk, 500km south of Moscow, at some point in the coming months. The unit blamed the tough trading environment for brewers in the country for the move.

“In recent years,” the company said in a statement, “some drastic changes have put extra pressure on the beer industry and thwarted its growth. These changes include the quadrupling of the excise tax since 2009 and various legislative restrictions and bans, making beer industry regulation in Russia now one of the toughest in the world.”

Between 2008 and 2011, Russia's beer industry fell by 17.5% in volume terms, according to SUN InBev. The first six months of 2012 has seen volumes drop by a further 5%.

Stuart MacFarlane, A-B InBev's zone president for Central & Eastern Europe, added: “We do not see any other option in the current beer market conditions.

“In the context of further legislative restrictions, tax burden increase and ongoing industry decline, SUN InBev needs to take measures. Acting now will help maintain our competitiveness and ensure the long-term, sustainable success of our organisation in Russia.”

Production will be moved to the division's other sites in European Russia, with around 225 job losses expected.

“Some employees will continue working at the brewery to ensure technical maintenance and industrial safety norms,” a spokesperson for SUN InBev told just-drinks.

“Some employees will be offered job in other breweries. All in all, we expect that nearly 50 people (of the 275 currently employed at the site) will continue working in the company.

“We have announced that the brewery will be shut down and must now first go through the completion of a number of technological and administrative processes,” the spokesperson added. “As such, we prefer not to speculate on a precise date (for closure).”

The Kursk facility, which started production in 1975, is used for malting and brewing and has an annual capacity of 1m hectolitres. It produces the Pikur, Zhigulevskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Tolstyak, Volzhanin, Lowenbrau and Bagbier beer brands.

SUN InBev has breweries in nine Russian cities: Klin, Volzhsky, Omsk, Perm, Ivanovo, Saransk, Novocheboksarsk and Angarsk.

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