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Inveralmond Brewery to target premium beer market in Russia

PERTH-based Inveralmond Brewery has added Russia to its growing roster of export markets after clinching a deal with a local distributor.

Inveralmond will use its link up with Elizabet to target the small but fast-growing premium beer markets in St Petersburg and Moscow.

Four of its brands - Lia Fail, Ossian, Thrappledouser and Blackfriars - will be dispatched from Perth in keg and bottle format on an export journey expected to take five days.

Russia is the latest overseas market to be opened by Inveralmond, which generates 10% of its sales abroad. The craft ale producer is established in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, the US and Canada, and has also been weighing up moves into Brazil and Mexico.

Managing director Fergus Clark praised Scottish Development International (SDI) for its help in setting up the deal. From its office in Moscow, he said it provided the brewer with information on the market and helped its management understand the culture of doing business in Russia.

Mr Clark said Moscow and St Petersburg had been targeted because of the prospects of their premium beer markets and the prevalence of western brands in the cities. He said: "I think perhaps 10, 15 or 20 years ago it would have been quite a hairy place to do business. Things have changed markedly since then - there's a lot more regulation."

While the premium beer market is dwarfed by spirits in Russia, Mr Clark feels his firm has timed its arrival well. He noted: "Even though it is small, we are in at an early stage into this market so I think we are very well positioned to have a premium Scottish product in the market as it's kicking off.

"There are good quality off-trade outlets in Moscow which have got a good selection of high quality beers. That is where we are going to be positioned in that sector."

Inveralmond's move into Russia comes after it sealed a new UK distribution deal with PLB to boost off-trade sales, and as it promotes a Homecoming Scotland Beer to mark the events of 2014.

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