Russian beer plan divides retailers

27 August, 2008
Page 9 
A proposal that 60 per cent of the beer to be sold in the economic region of Nizhny Novgorod in central Russia should be from local producers has met with mixed reactions.

The proposal was submitted by the Nizhny Novgorod licensing authority to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) to promote the regional government's campaign to persuade people to buy more local products.

A poll of 100 retailers revealed that half agreed with the idea. The regional public prosecutor's office warned FAS it was illegal and violated consumers' rights.

Head of the retail alcohol sales department of the licensing authority Alevtina Bogdan, who had asked the region's retailers to agree with the proposal, said it was only a recommendation.

Sergei Tanchuk, general director of Yarlivo, one of the region's largest beer merchants, said: "You can fill every shelf with local beer but who is going to buy it?"

Vyacheslav Mamontov, chairman of the executive committee of the Russian Brewers' Union said: "Russia is a single market which should have the same laws. To let local authorities regulate local markets is not right."

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