Russian vodka production fell last year by 9% compared with 1999 to 1.22bn litres, the Russian Agriculture Ministry announced this week. However sales of one of the country's leading distilleries Kristall of Moscow leapt 29%. The decline in overall vodka production was caused mainly by an increase in tax put in place at the beginning of 2000 of 40%, which forced prices up by 25-35%. Consequently demand fell.