Against the background of illegal alcohol poisoning in Russia, it is proposed to introduce a record of sales of moonshine stills. True, experts say that now moonshine is not always a cheap swill, but rather a hobby for wealthy people.
Moonshine in Russia accounts for 16-20% of the total alcohol consumption – about 20 million liters of this drink are produced in the country. At the same time, only a few percent of the population is driven for personal consumption – for them it is a hobby. And 95-98% make moonshine for sale. There are no guarantees that a person will not be poisoned by such alcohol, Sergei Ryabukhin, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Budget and Financial Markets, explained to RG. According to him, we are not talking about total control. Accounting must be entered only for those who produce homemade alcohol for sale. Now in the country there is no regulation whatsoever in this area.
“Many countries have sales records. At least they will ask for a passport when selling. And our child at 12 years old can go into household goods and freely buy a moonshine still,” says the senator.
A “whole set of measures” to combat illegal alcohol was recently sent to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko. In addition to accounting for moonshine stills, it is proposed to toughen criminal and administrative liability for the sale of counterfeit goods.
On semi-industrial moonshine stills does not interfere with the introduction of state registration of equipment – the legalization of the market for small producers of alcohol will oust the surrogate and receive additional revenues to the budget, says Pavel Shapkin, head of the Center for the Development of National Alcohol Policy. But for this it is necessary to simplify the licensing requirements and reduce the amount of the duty (now it is 9.5 million rubles).
The fashion for homemade alcohol is back in Russia. Over the past 10 years, the production of moonshine has approximately doubled. In the past six years, the dynamics of sales of moonshine stills has amounted to hundreds of percent of the increase, and the pandemic has only accelerated it, says Shapkin. But often we are talking about a hobby: wealthy people produce alcohol for themselves and their friends. They use expensive high-quality ingredients and withstand technology. For example, in the USA the most popular vodka is hand made.
Vadim Drobiz, director of the Center for Research on Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets (TsIFRRA), believes that state regulation of home brewing will not in any way affect the artisanal production of alcohol and the volume of consumption of illegal alcohol.
“There is a huge mass of the population (more than 20 million people) with a salary of 15-18 thousand rubles who will never go to the store for legal products. They need vodka for 100 rubles, and we sell legal vodka for 250 rubles,” he says. he.
In his opinion, since 2015, population groups that consume legal and illegal products have stabilized in Russia. The pandemic and lack of travel among the middle class have contributed to the rise in legal alcohol consumption. But the flow of consumers from legal to illegal (and vice versa) alcohol is not observed.
In Russia, there is a significant increase in the import and sale of champagne. Thus, imports of sparkling wines to Russia in January-September 2021 increased by 55.6% compared to the same period last year, amounting to 35 million liters (by $ 163.2 million). At the same time, sales of champagne in Russia for 10 months of 2021 increased by 8.4% (up to 12.4 million decaliters), according to the FCS data in the National Union of Consumer Rights Protection. “Champagne is a product for the middle class, and for a year and a half the middle class has been sitting in Russia without a break. Now all this volume of champagne is drunk here,” explains Vadim Drobiz. In addition, last year there were practically no corporate parties, weddings and other celebrations. Now these events are at least partially revived. It is also likely that some of the consumers of carbonated wine drinks have switched to sparkling wines (about 80 million liters of them were drunk in Russia a year), the expert says.