Guardian | Rich Russians ditch vodka for ‘aspirational drinks’
According to a survey by the firm Euromonitor, vodka sales in Russia have fallen by 15% since 2000, with upwardly mobile Russians switching to brandy, cognac and tequila. Sales of beer and wine have also gone up, the survey said.
Originally sold in taverns, taxes on vodka played a key role in the economy of Tsarist Russia, at times providing up to 40% of state revenue. The drink remained popular in the 20th century – often knocked back with a plate of dried fish or delicious pickles. Even in 2001 vodka amounted to 70% of all alcohol sold in Russia.
Mikhail Kalashnikov – famous for designing the AK-47 – raises a vodka toast, but many aspiring young Russians find his choice of tipple dated. Photograph: John D McHugh/AP