Russia's brewing industry has become the third largest taxpayer in the country after paying over R17bn ($610.19m) to the federal budget in 2000.

Moreover most of the breweries are the leading taxpayers in their region as the general director of Baltika Brewery Taymuraz Balloyev stressed at a press conference in the State Duma yesterday.

He said that about  $1.5 billion of investments were needed to increase the average consumption of beer to the levels of the rest of Europe. Balloyev urged the government to decrease the excise duty on beer to encourage the country's population towards the consumtion of low alcohol beverages.