Russian beer gets German quality

RIA Novosti / Aleksey Philippov
One of Russia’s biggest brewers has reached an agreement to have its beer brewed under licence in Germany. Ochakovo hopes this will increase its market presences in Europe by 30%.

Moscow based Ochakovo, is the country’s sixth biggest brewery producing 260 million litres a year, and has a 2.5% market share at home.

The company has concluded a license agreement with the German Kaiser Brauerei established by the Kampf Family in 1781.

According to the license agreement the first supply will make up 20 thousand litres. “We have been successfully collaborating with Germany for already 8 years and our beer is in demand there. In 2011 we exported about 950 thousand litres of Ochakov brand beer. We hope to increase the exports to 1.2 million litres due to the new license agreement”, says Sofia Sonina of Ochakovo.

The company says the decision to expand outside Russia was driven by an opportunity to produce beer in Germany using the best technology. Sofia Sonina points out that another reason to expand was caused by the state of the Russian market and increasing regulatory pressure.

Beer brewing in Russia has been suffering a lot from the government regulations”, says Sofia Sonina.In 2010 the Ministry of Finance increased excise duty for absolute alcohol from 3 roubles per litre up to 9 roubles what cut beer production by 6% down to 9.8 billion litres.

Government plans to equate beer to spirits which means it will require licensing. In 2013 beer sales will be banned at night. All this creates obstacles for the industry to successfully expand in Russia and we have to look for new opportunities to preserve our profit“, adds Sofia Sonina.

The half litre bottle of Ochakovo beer produced by Kaiser will cost 0.79 Euros, the bottom end of the prices for premium beers. But European customers will get something extra, a glass bottle, rather than the plastic used in Russia.