Major Estonian breweries see marked decline in beer sales ({{commentsTotal}})

The recently raised excise rate on beer gives small producers an advantage.
The recently raised excise rate on beer gives small producers an advantage. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Beer sales have fallen considerably below last year's levels, Estonia's largest brewers Saku Õlletehas and A. le Coq find.

The results clearly fall short of the previous year, A. le Coq CEO Tarmo Noop told BNS. "On the one hand, it's the impact of a general decline in the market, but on the other we are increasingly influenced by cross-border trade with Latvia," he said.

"The picture is sad," said Saku Õlletehas CEO Margus Kastein. Sales of low-alcohol beverages fell especially in July compared to the same month last year, he observed. "July was a total disaster," he noted.

According to Kastein, Saku's sales figures across all categories of low-alcohol beverages in July showed two-digit year-on-year decreases, with beer sales falling 20 percent, and ciders and long drinks somewhat less.

"We're thinking every day about how to adjust to this situation, because people are working and want to be paid, but business plans are going down the drain," he added. "The task of Saku's management is to adapt to the new situation, which is all about clearly higher prices for consumers resulting from the excise duty hike."

Market reserach company Nielsen data showed that the entire Estonian alcohol market is suffering from a steep fall, said Kastein. During the first half of the year a fall of 4 percent was registered, while cider sales have plummeted 14 percent and long drink sales have declined 8 percent.

Saku's exports to Latvia, meanwhile, have soared 30 percent compared to July 2015. "The cross-border trade began to flourish in May," Kastein said.

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

Source: BNS

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