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18 Aug, 2020 19:38

Vodka no longer in top 50 items sold in Russian alcohol stores – time to retire tired & outdated Russian drinking stereotypes?

Vodka no longer in top 50 items sold in Russian alcohol stores – time to retire tired & outdated Russian drinking stereotypes?

In the first seven months of 2020, Russians were less likely to buy vodka, preferring to purchase other drinks - primarily beer - in alcohol stores, according to the analytical department of cashback company CheckScan.

By studying 130,000 receipts from two of Russia’s most popular liquor chains, ‘Krasnoe & Beloe’ and ‘Bristol’, the analysts discovered that Russians have turned towards beer as their beverage of choice. From January to July, the golden brew took the top spot in alcoholic rankings every single month, with the old Soviet-era staple, vodka, failing to even make the top 50. 

We are now a long way from 1980s and 1990s stereotypes about drunken Russian guzzling down the traditional hard liquor. Today, Russians drink less alcohol than Germans and the emerge of a cafe and pub culture has changed social habits, especially with craft beer becoming increasingly fashionable.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, medical masks became the most popular item bought for 2020, selling at a faster rate than all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

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The research also discovered that Russians began to drink more during quarantine, and the size of the average store receipt has not fallen significantly following the end of Covid-19 measures.

“The sharp increase in the average check in April, unfortunately, only leads us to one possible conclusion: Russians began to consume more alcohol in self-isolation,” said Vladislav Vernigora, CEO of the CheckScan project.

According to CheckScan, a company which helps people track their spending and earn cashback, the purpose of the study was to try to discover how the consumer habits of Russians have changed over time, and to check if alcohol consumption had increased during the period of self-isolation.

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Earlier in the year, when the Covid-19 lockdown had just begun, a study by the Roskachestvo Consumer Behavior Research Center showed that Russians had significantly changed their habits to avoid more harmful food and drink. A survey conducted April 21-22 showed that 45 percent of Russians gave up booze, with 38 percent giving up sweets. It now seems that the country’s flirtation with teetotalism didn’t last too long.

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