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St. Petersburg alcoholic beverages market to face changes - 14 March, 2003

The St. Petersburg alcoholic beverages sector can expect dramatic changes in the coming months, both in terms of prices and market participants. The Club of Alcohol Market Professionals (CAMP), a non-commercial association of local alcoholic-drink producers, is predicting that retail prices for liquor will rise in the coming months. The excise tax on alcohol went up by 15 percent back in January and February, but stores were selling old stock, for the most part, so far, the club's analysts noted.

These relative changes in prices would lead to liquors continuing to lose their market share, though other factors would also contribute to the trend, experts said. According to research carried out by Business Analytica, the consumption of vodka fell by 8 percent between 1998 and 2002, while the market for wine grew by around 6 to 8 percent per year in the same period. In 2001 and 2002, the volume of wine sales in St. Petersburg rose by 37 percent, while vodka sales only increased by 11 percent in the same period. The trend is expected to continue in the future and analysts expect wine sales to show an annual growth of 30 percent to 40 percent per year, the St. Petersburg Times reported.