Russia is running out of whiskey and cognac. The import of alcohol decreased by 95%.

(October 3, 2022)

Russia is running out of whiskey and cognac. The import of alcohol decreased by 95%.

According to the Russian Association of Retail Companies, the assortment of alcohol in Russian food chains has decreased by 40-95%. In the “whiskey” category, the companies that left and suspended their work in the Russian Federation accounted for 66% of the Russian alcohol market, in the “rum” category – 63%, in the “cognac” category – 82%.  I must also say that the import of sparkling wines from the champagne region to Russia completely stopped by 100%, the supply of whiskey was reduced by 70%, French cognac and imported beer – 60%.

The remnants of alcohol products in warehouses in Russia will last for 2-3 months, so by the New Year celebration in Russia there may not be completely imported alcohol left. Namely, this holiday, which lasts 10 days in Russia, provides food and alcohol companies with revenue for the whole next year.

But Alex, what about parallel imports, which are now allowed in Russia? (Who does not know “parallel imports” – a new process of doing business, now allowed in Russia. This means that Russian importing companies can bring any product to Russia without obtaining the permission of the manufacturer and copyright holder).

Unfortunately, alcoholic products are not included in the list of permitted “parallel imports”. But as an expert on the food market in Russia, the CIS and the Caucasus, I can say that there is an insight that the Russian government may allow for parallel imports of alcohol products from companies such as Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot; vermouth Martini and Cinzano; whiskey Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Hennessy, Johnnie Walker, Chivas; rum Captain Morgan, Havana Club, Olmeca tequila. And this will make it possible to import without the consent of the copyright holders.

So far, Bacardi (Martini, Dewar’s, William Lawson’s), Pernod Ricard (Chivas Regal, Jameson, Absolut) and Campari continue to supply their alcoholic products to Russia.

A little advice from me personally – who is involved in premium and quality alcohol (strong spirits, wine, beer), you have a great chance now to enter the “empty shelves” in Russian food stores.

Your alcohol products are very much expected in Russia. But be prepared right away that now logistics to Russia goes through “third countries”, the payment process also takes place “through third countries”. Believe me, it turned out to be not difficult at all, in Russia everything has already been thought up and organized.

Aleksander Sinyansky
Business Adviser on Food Markets
of Russia, CIS and Caucasus

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