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Russian Brewers Propose Voluntary Curbs to Fight Plastic Ban

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Russian brewers are proposing their own limits on selling beer in plastic bottles as the State Duma considers stricter measures that would weigh on sales of brewers including Carlsberg A/S and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV.

The industry is willing to stop producing beer in plastic bottles larger than 2.5 liters from January, Isaac Sheps, head of the Union of Russian Brewers, told reporters in Moscow today. The State Duma is considering two separate proposals that would ban sales in plastic bottles of more than half a liter or a liter.

About half of the country’s beer is sold in plastic bottles, according to the trade group, whose members include Carlsberg, InBev and Heineken NV. Russian beer production was 90.4 million hectoliters last year, 18 percent lower than in 2008, as the country has raised excise taxes on beer, banned most advertising for the beverage and restricted sales.

The brewers also agreed to stop producing strong beer in plastic bottles larger than 2 liters, Sheps said.

A ban would help to fight alcohol abuse in the country, lawmaker Mikhail Tarasenko has said in an explanatory note to a draft law to prohibit sales in bottles of more than half a liter from January.

“Inexpensive PET packaging makes alcohol more affordable and boosts its consumption,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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