Why Western beers are still sold in Russia

STORY: Western beers should be off the menu for Russian shoppers.

Big brands like Heineken and Carlsberg said back in March that they would stop sales and production there.

And yet, months later, Russian store shelves are still replete with Western brews.

A Reuters review found that some of this was stock from early in the year.

But dates on the cans and bottles showed that some production continued after the brewers’ public announcements.

Carlsberg says its production finally stopped in April.

It was the western brewer most exposed to Russia, but says its beer will now disappear there as stocks run down.

Heineken says its final Russia brews came in March, with the last sales in mid April.

Now it’s not clear how much inventory Russian stores still have.

Retailers X5 and K&B, where Reuters checked the beers, didn't comment.

But the lingering availability shows how long it takes for consumer-focused sanctions to take effect.

Meanwhile, the Russian Union of Brewers last week warned of packaging and labelling problems, saying beer makers were working at limited capacity.

When the stocks of western brands run out, that could leave Russian drinkers going thirsty.

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