Belarus has reduced beer imports 5-fold in the past two years, Chairman of Belgospishcheprom Concern Alexander Zabello said.
“I cannot say that the domestic brewing industry makes no headway. Yes, the sales are shrinking a bit, but we do not have a 10-15% slump as the neighboring countries are registering. Beer exports have reduced 5-fold in the past two years. Dozens of beer varieties that were imported before are now produced in Belarus. The domestic breweries have reached a surplus in foreign trade, selling more beer than buying from abroad,” Alexander Zabello said.
Last year all the Belarusian breweries posted net profit, including even those who operated in the red for a long time: Brestsoye Pivo, Krinitsa, Heineken.
“The concern has developed good businesslike relations with the market participants. An agreement on cooperation was signed between Belgospishcheprom and the brewing companies. This document does not envisage any strict liabilities. It is about a direct dialogue between the regulator and the market actors. Regular meetings are held to discuss problems and elaborate effective measures to further develop the industry and protect national producers against unfair competition. The domestic brewing industry is showing good results,” Alexander Zabello added.
The chairman of Belgospishcheprom Concern also spoke about the development of the liqueur and spirits industry in the country.
“There are considerable positive trends in the sector, although not all the problems have been addressed in full yet. The situation, however, is turning to the better. Once the industry was in a critical state due to objective reasons, the plants had to struggle with a load of loans. It was decided then to provide excise payments once money on contracts is received. The move brought a positive effect. Today’s financial and loan policy in the country is also positive. The cost of loans has gradually reduced and loans are not such a burden for the companies,” he said.
Other problems are also being addressed.
“Much criticism has been voiced when the alcohol holding company was being set up. It has justified itself however. It helped reduce excessive competition between the domestic distilleries. Today, the production capacities exceed the needs on the domestic market some 2.6-fold. Supplies to foreign markets are acquiring great significance. The holding company increases its export supplies by 30% on an annual basis,” Alexander Zabello explained.
In his words, the lineup of liqueur and spirits has contracted from 1,000 to 200 descriptions. This figure will go down to 100 descriptions by the end of 2018.
“We are doing our best to optimize the portfolio of brands to secure the maximum sales and competitive edge for domestic products. Of course, there are certain problems, but we managed to pull the liqueur and spirits industry out of a dive. It shows profits last year. This year the results should be even better,” the head of the concern said. (BelTA/Business World Magazine)