The Russians changed vodka with another type of alcohol: what is the reason

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Whatever happens to the domestic economy – a recession, inflation or a drop in income – you can not worry about one of its segments. Alcohol sales are growing all the time, and for the first half of 2023, too. Moreover, judging by the statistics, the Russians switched to expensive drinks. Over the past six months, cognac sales have increased especially noticeably – by 10% at once. Demand also increased significantly for various wines, especially champagne and sparkling. What is the reason for this all-conquering love for alcohol, which even the constantly rising prices of alcohol are not able to contain?

In addition to cognac, a noticeable increase in sales, according to Rosalkogolregulirovanie, was shown by grape wines (by 4.5%), as well as champagne and sparkling wines (by 9.1%). The largest increase in retail turnover was shown by liqueurs, sales of which jumped by almost 114%. The only drink that let us down this time was vodka, the sales of which remained at the last year’s level.

Drink lovers are not bothered even by the rise in price of their favorite products. Since January, the government has increased the minimum price for almost the entire product line of alcohol. In particular, the cost of cognac increased by about 8%, and sparkling – by more than 41%. In general, over the past 12 months (since June 2022), the cost of alcoholic beverages in our country, according to Rosstat, has increased by about 10%. But the incomes of the population cannot boast of similar rates. In the first quarter (more recent data is not yet available), the real incomes of Russians increased by a barely noticeable 0.1% on average. By the end of the year, the government promises to increase this figure by 3.4%, but still, the rate of rise in alcohol prices cannot keep up… However, why – if they buy it anyway, and besides, not the cheapest alcohol!?

Among the main factors for increasing demand for cognac and wine products, Petr Shelishch, chairman of the Consumers Union of Russia, names the improvement in the quality of domestic alcoholic beverages. “Domestic producers quite quickly managed to replace imported alcohol that had dropped out of the retail chain,” the expert notes. “First of all, this applies to Stavropol, Krasnodar, Dagestan and Crimean winemakers.”

According to Alexei Plotnikov, executive director of the Association of Viticulturalists and Winemakers of Russia, the grape harvest in our country this year promises to grow from 700,000 to a record high of 800,000 tons. Now the share of domestic wine in Russian stores is 55%. Given such a rapid growth in the collection of “sunny berries”, there is a chance that over time, Russian alcohol will occupy up to 80% of the shelves of domestic supermarkets. “Those who prefer imported elite alcohol and are not going to give up their habitual addictions will be able to satisfy their needs in restaurants that have accumulated quite significant stocks of foreign alcoholic products,” Shelishch believes.

At the same time, according to Vadim Drobiz, director of the Center for Research on Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets, the situation with the increase in retail sales of cognac, wine, champagne, sparkling wine and liqueurs looks quite adequate. “The fact is that state statistics compare not quite equivalent periods – the first half of 2022 with the first half of 2023,” the expert explains. Due to the complication of the geopolitical situation, starting from about the middle of last year, many Russians had to give up spending their holidays in foreign resorts. The population, as they say, settled at home. Moreover, even the factor of partial mobilization did not have a particular impact on the volume of alcohol consumption. Representatives of the middle class, who continue to work in their usual places, buy alcohol traditional for their class. Cognac and other intoxicating drinks, which have shown a significant increase in sales this year, unlike vodka, are the favorite spirits of the middle class, which causes an increased interest in them from buyers. “In the second half of the year, the situation will change: Russians are finding alternative regions for vacations, including in affordable foreign countries. There holiday-makers will buy alcohol. Already in the coming months, sales of noble spirits may decrease, and by the end of the year, the growth in retail sales of alcohol will be only 2-2.5%, ”Drobiz predicts.

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