Inexpensive vodka helped Roust to become the largest producer

Holding Roust Rustam Tariko in the first half of 2018 increased production of vodka by 32% compared with January-June 2018.
Holding Roust Rustam Tariko in the first half of 2018 increased the production of vodka by 32%, which allowed him to return the first place in Russia in terms of production volumes. He achieved this result, significantly increasing the share of products in the economic segment in the portfolio. In it, Roust wants to replace the vodka of companies that left the market, who traded them at a minimum retail price.

Following the results of the first half of 2018 in Russia the leader in volumes of vodka production was replaced, it follows from the data provided to Kommersant by one of the market participants. Rustam Tariko's Roust Holding took the first place: in six months of the year he produced 4.38 million decaliters of vodka, 32% more than in the same period of 2017. Beluga Group, which took the first place by the results of the last year, reduced volumes by 11% and dropped to the third place, having passed forward also "Tatspirtprom". The fourth place (see table) was retained by the Alcoholic Siberian Group (ASG). Roust, Beluga Group and ASG confirmed Kommersant's figures on the amount of vodka produced by the companies. Beluga Group's predecessor Alexander Mechetin explained the reduction in volumes by the fact that the company stopped modernization of its Georgievsky plant near Moscow in January (there are six of them all). "Our shipments to the market at the same time were at the level of last year," he stressed.

Roust was the largest vodka producer until 2015, but then lowered its output, dropping to third place. The current growth in the company is attributed to the activation of vodka sales in the economic segment, where the lower price limit is the minimum retail price set by the state (MRC, now it is 205 rubles per 0.5 liters). In this segment, Roust this year resumed the release of three previously discontinued vodkas - Gerbovaya, Topaz and Kalinov Meadow. According to the representative of the company, due to this sale of Roust in the economical segment - up to 229 rubles. for 0.5 liters - increased by 145%.

Roust's vice-president Igor Kosarev explained to Kommersant that in the economical segment the company is now trying to take the place that was freed up after the products of some companies left the market. What exactly, he did not specify. One of such companies may be the distributor of Status-Groups, which in 2015 brought the vodka "Good Bear", "Kalina Krasnaya" and others to the sales leaders, trading them at the level of the MRC. After the Kabardian factories that produced vodka for the distributor were stopped due to exclusion schemes in 2016, it became difficult for him to keep sales at the same level at the same prices. In February 2018, "Status" filed an application for its own bankruptcy. Partner of "Status" for distribution - GC "Kristall-Lefortovo" at the beginning of the year stopped its three plants. This month, VTB filed an application to declare it bankrupt (see "Kommersant" on July 6).

Other large producers of vodka do not plan to expand their presence in the economical segment. "We do not see the prospects for business in it, it is economically unprofitable," says Mr. Mechetin. In his opinion, it's possible to work in plus today only with products that cost in retail 240-250 rubles. for 0.5 liters. Beluga Group relies on development in the sub-premium and premium segments: in the first the company launched vodka "Arkhangelskaya", in the second - vodka "White Owl" and "Copper Horse". The press service of the LRA said that the group this year expects to increase its sales by at least 10%, also at the expense of brands from the sub-premium ("Five Lakes") and premium ("White Birch", "Husky") segments. Mr. Kosarev asserts that Roust can afford to work with products at the level of the MRC, "the company's infrastructure, including plants in different regions of the country and the availability of its own alcohol production, allows keeping the cost at a low level."

The total volume of vodka production in Russia, according to government statistics, in the first half of 2018 amounted to 35.89 million decaliters, which is only 0.3% lower than the level of the same period last year. "But we see that sales of legal vodka in retail are growing by 10%, which gives us reason to expect that by the end of the year the volume of Russian vodka production will grow by about 8%," says Igor Kosarev. In the ASG, the forecast is more conservative - there they expect growth of only 2%. To promote this, they believe there will be "the successful introduction of the EGAIS in retail and the reduction in counterfeit volumes."