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Brewers to Stop Selling Beer in Large PET Bottles

That typical crowd of late-night drinkers passing around one immense plastic bottle of beer — a familiar sight to any long-term resident of Russia — may soon be a thing of the past, as the Union of Russian Brewers prepares to decrease the size of plastic beer bottles.

Having agreed with a government proposal, from Jan. 1, 2014, brewers will discontinue sales of beer in polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, containers with a volume of more than 2.5 liters. Beverages with an alcohol content higher than 6 percent will only be sold in volumes of up to 2 liters, Kommersant reported Thursday.

According to experts, half of all beer produced in Russia is sold in PET packaging. A full ban on use of PET bottles could cause a 12 billion ruble ($370 million) loss to brewers, the Union of Russian Brewers estimated.

Beer sold in PET bottles of more than 2.5 liters and more than 2 liters amounts to about 2 percent and 4 to 5 percent of the beer market, respectively, union chaiman Isaac Sheps said at a press conference Wednesday.

Sheps noted previously that a full prohibition on PET packaging could shrink the already dwindling beer market by a crippling 18 percent.

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