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Russia to Start Producing Cheap Whiskey

The price of imported alcohol rose significantly last year due to the sharp devaluation of the Russian currency.

A Russian liquor company will begin producing cheap whiskey in a bid to undersell foreign firms whose drinks have risen in price thanks to the devaluation of the ruble, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday.

“It will be ordinary whiskey made entirely of Russian raw materials,” said Eastern European Distribution Company brand director Stanislav Kaufman, Kommersant reported.

The new Russian whiskey will operate under the brand “Stoli,” familiar in foreign markets due to Russian vodka Stolichnaya, which is sold abroad under the same brand name.

According to Kaufmann, Stoli whiskey will be cheaper than foreign analogues, with the retail price between 600 and 650 rubles ($10 to 11) per 0.75 liter. A 0.75 liter sized bottle of William Lawson's, the cheapest available whiskey on the website of alcohol retailer WineStyle.ru, costs 990 rubles ($18).

Praskoveiskoye whiskey, which is so far the first and so far only Russian whiskey on the market, costs 946 rubles ($17) per 0.7 liter, according to the website of spirits distributor alkolavka.ru.

The price of imported alcohol rose significantly last year due to the sharp devaluation of the Russian currency. The ruble fell 40 percent to the U.S. dollar as Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and falling oil prices strangled investment.  

The rise in prices led to to a steep drop in imports of foreign alcohol. Whiskey imports in Russia decreased by approximately 34 percent between January and March, Kommersant reported, citing data from the Federal Customs Service.

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