Russia and vodka, the association, dates back to medieval times. The stereotype is now giving way to a new tradition with beer taking over the Russian beverage market. Bars serving only beer are a common sight in Moscow, changing the standard drinking experience of localities.
Has this piqued your curiosity? Here’re a few Russian beer facts that might interest you.
Numbers don’t give you a clear picture, though, they quantify a trend nonetheless.
- Averagely, a Russian, consumed 12.5 litres of pure alcohol in 2010. Vodka (5 litres) was most consumed, followed by beer (4 litres). Come 2016; beer sales outgrew all spirit sales combined, let alone Russia’s traditional tipple, vodka. The beer sales for the year stood at 45% of the total spirit sales, while vodka could manage just 42% of sales. The trend is continuing to this day, making beer the leading alcoholic drink in Russia.
- In 2020, Russia has over 1285 beer producers, up from 561 in 2011. From international brands to midsized, mini and micro craft breweries, they come in all shapes and sizes.
- With the consumption of 8405 million litres of beer annually, Russia ranks 32nd among the countries with the highest beer consumption per capita. The total value is 54.8 L.
- One of the attractive Russian beer facts is regarding beer production, which is subject to fluctuation. In 2019, 77.1 mil hl of beer was brewed, mostly dark brews.
The yardstick for beer classification in Russia is unusual compared to elsewhere. The world categorizes beer based on the style and yeasts used for fermentation, Russians, instead, use colour, Alcohol by Volume (ABV), and gravity as parameters. For Russians, beers are either dark or light. The best Russian beer with 6 to 10% ABV is also readily available.
Per market studies, 80% of Russians show a preference for light filtered beers. Only 12% prefer dark beer. Light unfiltered beer, on the other hand, has just 8% takers in Russia. In terms of style, IPA/APA beers are the most popular, followed by Porter, Wheat Ales and lagers.
Top craft brews:
Russia already has a fair share of craft breweries, and the numbers are progressive. Among all the breweries, only a few do well than the rest in terms of popularity. Presently, AF Brew is hands-down market leader, followed by BAKUNIN, VASILEOSTROVSKAYA, and Jaws Brewery. So, the next time you crave for the best Russian beer, you know what your best options are.
Change in status:
An epoch-making regulation in 2011 changed the way beer is used and sold in Russia. The then-president Dmitry Medvedev classified beer as alcohol for all regulatory purposes through legislation. The move aimed at countering the escalating alcoholism rates across Russia. Earlier, beer was classified as a foodstuff and could be quickly sold, bought and consumed, no matter when, where or by whom. The legislation changed it all. In a changed scenario:
- Beer cannot be sold at kiosks, airports, gas stations and other public places.
- License is mandatory for vendors vending beer.
- Beer sales cannot happen between 11 pm to 8 am.
- Beer advertising on television is prohibited.