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RUSSIA: Imported spirits gain ground in Russia - figures

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Consumption of imported spirits in Russia grew by 10.6% in 2010 versus 2009, according to a recent report from The IWSR.

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The fastest growth came from the non-traditional spirits categories, such as whisk(e)y, rum, Tequila, gin and cane, The IWSR Spirits in Russia Report found. Of these categories Scotch whisky saw by far the largest growth in volume terms both in the last year and over the last 10 years.

Whisk(e)y has been booming in Russia for a number of years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2001 and 2010 of 33.9%. The category saw a decrease in sales for all whisk(e)y types in 2009, due to the effects of the global economic downturn, which in turn led to reduced spending on luxury purchases. Consumer confidence is returning, however, and the category is back on track.

Whisk(e)y is widely perceived to be a prestigious drink, from the cheapest bottle to the rare aged malts.

Connoisseurship continues to develop, with consumers showing more interest in the origins and taste portfolio, although this is still only a small percentage of whisk(e)y drinkers. Blended Scotch remains by far the largest of the whisk(e)y categories, with value Scotch making up 50% of the category. Value Scotch was also the fastest-growing segment, up by 53.1% in 2010 versus 2009; standard Scotch also exceeded 2008 volumes, growing by 45.5% in 2010, according to The IWSR. 

Whisk(e)y, gin, Tequila, rum, Cognac/brandy, liqueurs and bitters all saw double-digit growth in 2010, although some of these categories remain very small; only whisk(e)y and rum exceeded 2008 consumption levels. Overall spirits consumption slipped by 0.4% in 2010 versus 2009, compared to an 11.2% drop in 2009 versus 2008, as the market began its recovery post-recession.

Imported rum grew by 37.4% in 2010, growing by over 100,000 cases. In 2010, Bacardi Superior got back on track, breaking the 100,000-case mark and maintaining market share; Bacardi Black also exceeded previous levels, growing by 26.1%. Diageo’s Captain Morgan Spiced benefited from increased marketing activity and the introduction of value-added packs with bottles of Coca-Cola, growing by 20,000 cases in 2010. The rum category is expected to continue to rise as consumers return to bars and restaurants and the on-trade develops further into the regions.

Currently, the majority of imported spirits sales are still in the major cities of Moscow and St Petersburg, but the curiosity for imported brands and non-traditional spirits is rising in other parts of the country. Thus, as the economy recovers and disposable income slowly increases, Russian consumers will begin to venture further into these categories.


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Bacardi Ltd, Diageo, Captain Morgan

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