Foreign beer in russia

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Foreign beer in Russia
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Have Russiansfinally discovered a taste for good beer ? In the first half of this year, beer imports were double what they had been in the first half of 1995 enough to give foreign brands about 10% of the market, byofficial reckonings. Some think the true share, allowing for smuggled imports, may be closer to 30%. Set against slumping demand for watery domestic beers many of which are unpasteurised and havebits floating in them the Russian boom has delighted western exporters, such as Carlsberg and Heineken.
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It has also offered them something of achallenge. If Russian drinkers are now thirsty for wellmade beer, then the western brewers could satisfy and encourage that taste more readily by investing directly in local production. So far they havenot. Russia, they reckon, is difficult, expensive and dangerous. The country grew only 25% of the hops its brewing industry needed last year, and half the barley; worse, anything to do with alcohol inRussia is criminalised extensively, even by local standards.
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The performance of two smallish foreign brewers, though, suggests it might be timefor the big western firms to change their minds. Sun Brewing, owned by India's Khemka family, has assembled a chain of local breweries  many bought at knockdown prices in half a dozen depressedprovincial cities. Its annual capacity of 3.3 m hectolitres is almost a fifth of Russian production last year.
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Sun's flagship brand, Viking, carries anEnglishlanguage label, but appears in a solidly Russian halflitre bottle. It has a hoppy Russian flavour, but is less potent than most traditional domestic beers. That suits younger Russians, keener...
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