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Russia bans sales of Ukrainian vodka

Russia has banned imports of Ukrainian vodka and beer, which were apparently found to violate consumer rights.

Russia has banned sales of Morosha Vodka, owned by Global Spirits’ Ukrainian Distribution Company

The Russian Federal Service for Consumer Control, Rospotrebnadzor, ruled yesterday to halt imports of alcoholic products from certain Ukrainian manufacturers.

Rospotrebnadzor claims the measure is to protect consumer rights after “numerous violations” were detected.

It highlighted alcoholic beverages produced by Global Spirits-owned Ukrainian Distribution Company, a major vodka distributor, did not correspond to the volume fraction of alcohol and organoleptic characteristics.

It also mentioned beer produced by Sun InbevUkraine was not labelled correctly while that produced by Obolon also did not comply with requirements of energy value and organoleptic characteristics.

Rospotrebnadzor said all lab tests were carried out by Russian and internationally-accredited centres.

Ukraine exported US$230 million of alcohol to Russia in 2013, with vodka accounting for US$92m.

Ivan Bubnov, marketing director of Global Spirits in Russia, told Itar-Tass: “From 2014, we transferred the production [of] almost all brands sold in Russia to a Russian facility, the Russky Sever distillery in Vologda.” According to Bubnov, imports from Ukraine accounted for two thirds of the company’s sales in Russia.

The ban follows that of a Sazerac-owned Bourbon, Kentucky Gentleman, which according to Rospotrebnadzor, contained signs of phthalates organic chemicals.

So far trade sanctions imposed by Russia on western agricultural products have not included beer, wine or spirits, although Scotch producers are concerned a ban may be imminent and potentially damaging to sales.

Scotch sales in Russia is expected to overtake those in the UK in three years’ time, making the country the category’s third largest market.

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