‘Main issue for brewers is hops and malt, which should be replaced with our local varieties’
The main difficulty faced by Tatarstan brewers after the start of the special military operation and anti-Russian sanctions that followed it is the need to replace foreign raw materials with domestic ones. Rinat Akchurin, the head of the Tatarstan Beer Association, told Realnoe Vremya about this.
“The main issue for brewers is hops and malt, which should be replaced with our local varieties. That is, this is the main difficulty. And a number of other experiments that are being introduced, such as beer labelling, some more experiments. Now, of course, it is desirable to suspend all these experiments, because it is necessary to support local brewers," he said.
By the way, Chuvashia, neighbouring Tatarstan, is famous for hops. However, for example, the acting president of AB InBev Efes brewing company, Oraz Durdyev, said that Chuvash hops “will be enough for local producers at best” and these are “not the varieties that large brewers can use”.
“Well, you know, you can criticise everything. However, for example, Chuvash beer is very good, of a very high quality. It uses its own hops, malt. And it's a competitive beer. It is clear that the hops that were obtained from Germany, from the Czech Republic, it may be better somewhere, selectively richer," Rinat Akchurin believes.
As for hops, the entire beer industry of both Tatarstan and the whole of Russia will switch to domestic. It will take some time, now entrepreneurs are only at the beginning of the road.
“The thing is that today both Chuvashia and a number of other republics, they are, let's say, at the beginning of the path, they are not exactly studying, they are going to produce hops no worse than abroad. Well, let's just say, at the beginning of the journey, when the entire beer industry will switch to our hops, it will require appropriate quality, and I think this quality may not be immediately, but over time it will still be. One can criticise everything. In fact, I think one just need to be able to brew beer," said the head of the Beer Association of Tatarstan.
Large brewing companies transported hops for beer production from the Czech Republic, Germany, Turkey. However, to date, there have been problems with this. As Oraz Durdyev said, domestic brewers are even discussing with the Ministry of Agriculture the revival of hop culture.