29 Apr 2020 22:11

Russian Finance Ministry proposes temporarily allowing brewers to make antiseptics

MOSCOW. April 29 (Interfax) - The Russian Finance Ministry, which oversees the alcohol industry, has proposed allowing brewing companies to start producing alcohol-containing cosmetic hand gel.

The ministry is discussing the changes with the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, a government source told Interfax on Wednesday.

Under proposals, brewers would only be allowed to produce antiseptics in 2020, only in containers of a certain volume (maximum 0.255 liter), and only for their own employees or for free distribution at nonprofits including medical ones. The main production equipment would need to be fitted with an automatic system that will measure and register the volume of the finished product. A company which fails to comply with this requirement will be held responsible for manufacturing alcohol-containing product without a license.

To produce such antiseptics, brewers would need to apply for temporary permit, stating a planned output and the production address. Decisions on the applications would probably be made without onsite checks.

Earlier, the Russian beer market leader AB InBev Efes said it was ready to set up the production of hand disinfectant gels at its Russian factories and asked the government to be allowed to work with ethanol without a license.

The company set out this request in a letter to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who chairs the coordination council for countering the spread of the novel coronavirus, the head of the alcohol regulator (Rosalkogolregulirovaniye) Igor Alyoshin, and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who is leading the State Council working group tasked with containing the coronavirus.

AB InBev Efes wanted in-house hand sanitizers for its own staff and for free distribution among medical facilities and other organizations.

AB InBev Efes has eleven breweries in Russia. Its beer brand portfolio includes BUD, Corona Extra, Efes Pilsener, Spaten, Bely Medved and Klinskoye, among others.