DGerman beer is a bestseller in Russia. In any case, in 2021 The Federal Republic was the most important foreign supplier. The start of the war in Ukraine changed everything. Such well-known brands as “Krombacher”, “Bitburger”, “Radeberger” or “Veltins” no longer export to Putin’s empire.
Nevertheless, Russian beer lovers can still buy German brands from time to time. For example, spades and Franciscans. Because these two beers are now brewed locally in Russia.
The producer is ABInbev Efes, a joint venture between Turkey’s main brewer Anadolu Efes and Anheuser-BuschInbev, the world’s largest brewing group, to which the two suppliers have merged their operations in Russia and Ukraine.
“The company has decided to produce two German brands at its existing factories in Russia,” ABInbev said in a statement to WELT. At the same time, the representative makes it clear that this decision was apparently not made unanimously. “ABInbev Efes is a joint venture in which ABInbev does not have a majority stake.
According to the company, the fact that the brand names can still be used is due to existing license agreements. Spaten and Franziskaner, century-old Bavarian brands, since 2003. belongs to the world market leader ABInbev.
In addition, the portfolio includes other well-known names in Germany such as Becks, Löwenbräu, Hasseröder, Diebels and Haake-Beck. However, these beer brands are not brewed in Russia.
In any case, ABInbev is now trying to cut ties and follow in the footsteps of its biggest global rivals, Carlsberg and Heineken, in retreat. “We are currently conducting negotiations with Anadolu Efes regarding the sale of shares in the joint venture,” the representative reports.
According to reports, it is also about the suspension of licenses to sell ABInbev products. But these conversations drag on. In any case, they were recorded back in April. At the time, ABInbev also announced directly that about 1.1 billion will be written off. euros. And that you renounce any financial benefit from the joint venture.
Two million hectoliters for Russia
ABInbev Efes is the market leader in Russia. The group has eleven breweries with 3,500 employees. And this intense commitment is no accident. After all, with a good 82 million hectoliters last year, Russia is the world’s sixth largest beer market after China, the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Germany, according to a current BarthHaas report.
At the same time, Russia is becoming an increasingly important export destination for breweries from other countries. In any case, the German beer industry has expanded its activities significantly in recent years, which is why in 2021 Russia was the second most important export country for German breweries after Italy.
About two million hectoliters were exported there, the German Brewers Association (DBB) reports. This represents almost 13 percent of all beer exports from Germany in the past year.
At present, the situation is completely different. But not because beer is now on the European Union (EU) sanctions list. Because the ban on delivery established in Regulation 2022/1269 has practically no effect – because beer is classified as luxury goods and, according to Article 3h, it can no longer be exported only if “the value exceeds 300 euros per unit”.
It is not defined in detail whether bottles or kegs are considered a sales unit. “But neither the bottle nor the keg can match this price level,” says Rodger Wegner, CEO of the Export Breweries Association of North, West and South West Germany (VAB). “EU sanctions have no legal significance in the beer sector.”
Nevertheless, most breweries from Germany have long established their own facts. “Although the Russian market has so far been one of the foreign markets with great future potential for us, due to the current developments, we have immediately suspended all investments in this market,” Bitburger said on behalf of the company.
And this attitude is now reflected in the numbers. 626,000 hectoliters of alcoholic beer was…