Russia finds new whisky supplier

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China now ranks among Russia’s top ten suppliers of whisky, as it has embarked on a major expansion in the market after the departure of some popular Western brands, the business daily Kommersant reported on Friday, citing industry data.

According to the publication, China ramped up its supply of liquor to Russia tenfold in January-October to 464,000 liters, with whisky accounting for 421,000 liters of the total volume. The country’s share in the total volume of whisky supplied to the Russian market reportedly stood at 0.5%. The country has also surpassed Japan, which delivered fewer than 400,000 liters to Russia in January-October.

The report indicated that Indian distillers, which were also striving to fill the void left by departing Western firms, have also increased supplies to Russia. According to Kommersant data, over the first ten months of this year Indian whisky exports increased eightfold, to more than 742,000 liters.

The curtailment of whiskey sales has been one of the heaviest blows dealt to the Russian market as a result of Western trade restrictions. According to WineRetail estimates, bottled whisky imports were halved in 2022 to between 11 million and 12 million liters. Some brands, including Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniel’s, Bushmills, Jim Beam and White Horse now arrive via parallel import schemes, and the number of suppliers is growing. In addition, 36 new local whisky brands appeared on the Russian market in the first nine months of 2022, according to a NielsenIQ analysis.

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