Novel brews make inroads
LEO Tolstoy once remarked: 'Beer will help in a struggle against vodka.' The author of War & Peace was offering a solution to Russia's problem with rampant drunkenness at the turn of the century but he would doubtless be relieved to learn that beer has made a comeback in Russia.
In this era of designer brews, it will probably not be too long before bottles of exotically-named Russian beer are served in Hong Kong.
Brews such as Tsar Cannon and Radonej, from Russia's oldest brewery in Hamovniky which date back to the 17th century, are popular in the US and Japan.
This is not only because the brews are light with a unique taste, but they contain no chemicals or preservatives.
Those beers collected several international prizes at the Eurobeer-93 exhibition in Strasbourg.
Productivity at the Moscow brewery has doubled over the past few months to meet foreign demand.
Two new brews are being introduced with eye-catching labels - Rock-n-Roll and Hamovnicheskoye Original.
Russia's breweries are now united under the brewery marketing and development association, PIVOINDUSTRIA.
The group's director general, Vladimir Shishkin, said: 'We are encouraging the revival of hop cultivation in Russia, developing machinery for breweries and assisting enterprises to purchase imported equipment.
'Our aim is to revive the bygone game of the Russian brewery.'