Beer Production Declines by 0.6%

Russian beer output fell for the first time since 1996 last year as the financial crisis hurt consumer confidence, the Beer Producers Union said Tuesday.

Production dropped 0.6 percent to 1.1 billion decaliters in 2008, the union said. "Lower purchasing power as a result of the economic crisis" contributed to the drop in output, Vyacheslav Mamontov, chairman of the union's executive committee, said in the statement. "Unfavorable weather conditions," mainly a cool summer, also had "a negative influence," he added.

SABMiller this month reported an unexpected decline in third-quarter shipments, which dropped 22 percent in Russia. Gross domestic product growth dropped to 6.2 percent in the third quarter, the slowest pace in three years.

An increase in the country's beer excise taxes this year, as well as higher energy prices, raised production costs, also hurting output, Mamontov said.