Russia. The legislators had mercy for craft brewers

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Small companies that produce beer, cider, perry and mead up to 30 thousand hectolitres per year will be exempted from the need to connect to USAIS (Unified State Automated Information System). In spite of state preferences, they had to connect to the accounting system to monitor shipments to distributors. This resulted in a reduction of the market turnover and the closure of manufactures, Russian newspaper “Kommersant” writes.

Today Viktor Zvagelskii, deputy chairman of the Committee on Economic Policy and Entrepreneurship introduced to State Duma the bill that provides amendments to the law on state regulation of production and turnover of alcohol. The document includes release of the producers of beer and beverages of natural fermentation with production capacity of less than 30 hectoliters per year from the need to connect to USAIS (Unified State Automated Information).

Mr. Zvagelsky hopes to correct a legal case that has emerged in the alcohol legislation that already provides that the main process equipment of the enterprises does not require connection to the accounting system. “However, since 1 January 2016, the purchase, storage and delivery of such products to wholesalers have to be registered in the system, which leads in practice to the fact that small producers are forced to connect to it,” the Deputy says. Thus, the small entrepreneurs have lost their preferences provided by the state and have already spent 6 billion rubles on installation of USAIS.

The maintenance of the new system costs the producers additional 3 billion rubles per month, Alexei Nebolsin the member of the presidium Opora Rossii adds. “The same sum is payed by all small producers of beer and cider as excise taxes per year,” he said. According to “Opora”, this year in February, there were 991 manufactures of beverages of natural fermentation with capacity up to 30 thousand hectoliters, their products were sold by 3, 5 thousand wholesale companies and 117 thousand retail outlets. “The market of craft beer and cider is extremely small, so there is no counterfeit, as it is economically inexpedient. So why do we need the account, which costs more than all revenues from excise taxes make up?” Mr. Nebolsin is perplexed.

In January of this year, beer and cider mini-manufactures registered a decrease of turnover by 40% – 60%, the number of wholesale companies in this field has reduced by 50 %, stated in the explanatory note to the bill of Victor Zvagelskii. According to a survey conducted by “Opora Rossii” 25% of beer and cider producers have stopped their activity due to the introduction of USAIS, 27% reported a turnover decline by 25-50%. A similar decrease in turnover took place in 44% of wholesalers and 24% of stores, 30% of wholesalers and 20% of retail companies reported a decrease in turnover by 10-25%.