Blog: Olly WehringWhen Russia's beer bubble bursts...

Olly Wehring | 19 January 2010

SABMiller's bloated Russian beer sales point to a mighty hangover for brewers in the country in 2010.

A 34% rise in beer volume sales in Russia for SABMiller in its fiscal third quarter is dramatically out of kilter with the prevailing market trend in the country.

So dramatic, in fact, that it is a completely false bubble. Distributors in Russia spent December racing to stock their warehouses full to the brim of beer, ahead of a three-fold rise on excise tax in January. Carlsberg flagged up the trend in December.

Russia's beer market shrank by nearly a tenth in volume for the first nine months of 2009 and Carlsberg believes that the sector is facing a similar decline in 2010.

The vacuum left by the distributor stockpiling will exacerbate the situation.

Then, of course, there is the Russian Government's crusade against alcohol misuse.


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