Sales volumes of beer in Russia are to exceed those of vodka for the first time in 2003, according to a report by Business Analytica marketing agency.

Vodka and hard liquor will have a 38.5% share of the drinks market in 2003, but beer will have 40%.

Vodka will still lead on value though as the marketing agency anticipates that total beer sales will reach US$6.5 billion in 2003 versus US$5.8b this year, while the vodka market turnover will remain unchanged at about $6.2 billion.

Business Analytica estimates the total capacity of the Russian market for alcoholic beverages at US$16.2 billion in 2003.