30.07.2004 Indian summer of the Russian brewers

The brewing companies oust with confidence the producers of strong drinks from the market. But price of success may be too high.

According to the research of the agency " Business - Analytics ", use of strong drinks decreases in Russia year by year: in 2002 strong drinks accounted for 60 % of all bought alcohol and this year the index has decreased more than 2 items and has come to 57,9 %.

It is bound up with that priorities of the Russian consumer vary - use of strong drinks has increased by 35 % against the last year basically due to beer.

In the second quarter of this year the Russian brewers managed to sell by 6,8 % more production than for the same period of 2003.

The brewing company " Baltica " has especially advanced. It is sold 14 % of production more than last year. June sales have amounted to a record size exceeding by 25 % the last year's index, and if to compare the second and the first quarter of this year, sales volumes have increased by 61 %.

But Vladimir Kuznetsov, the PR-manager of the Russian Brewers Union, has told that anything sensational has not happened. Increase of sales volumes is a natural dynamics of the market, and as to company "Baltica", the double rate of growth of sales is caused by slackening of consequence of the brewery in the Russian market in 2003 when the company being keen on export has lost 23 % of the market.

As to comparison of sales volumes for the last two quarters, Vladimir is sure that it is only a seasonal tendency: " Sales of beer are usually 1,5-2 times as much in summertime, and the period of reconstruction of the positions of " Baltica " has clashed with seasonal fluctuations ".

In any case growth of sales volumes is a result of competent politics of the administration. In particular after Baltic Beverage Holding owning "Baltica" and 17 breweries in Russia and in the near foreign countries has bought the Chelyabinsk brewery " Zolotoy Ural ", its affairs have begun to improv: according to Anna Bushljakova, the PR-manager, during six months of 2004 the company has increased sales volume of beer by 32 % as contrasted to the same period of 2003.

Indexes of growth of the company "Ochakovo" are much more modest - in the second quarter of 2004 the combine has sold 4,8 % of drinks more than in the same period of the last year, and sales of beer have increased only by 3,6 %.

As Olga Rusina told, the press-secretary of the company, being one of the leaders of the Russian beer market, it is very difficult to develop. But "Īchakovo" has achieved a grap in producing of soft drinks where the market is not so advanced - sales of soft drinks have increased by 15,6 % for the same period.

As to seasonal fluctuations in summer, beer is drinked 22,13 % more and ''Ochakov's'' soft drinks - 15,38 % more than in a cold season.

For the past period of this year the company " Patra " sold 24,6 % more beer than for the same period of 2003. It is interesting the highest effectiveness was achieved in March - 27,8 %. Summer demand is more than winter one only by 3,8 %.

In opinion of Alexey Kochetova, the vice-president of the Union of the Russian producers of beer and nonalcoholic production, as a whole the beer market develops according to forecasts. By 2007 consumption of beer should increase by 17 %, but increase of the rate of the excises will result in rise in prices, in its turn it will result in setback in production by 3-10 % for the large breweries and in shutdown of the sector of the small and middle enterprises for one - two year.



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