E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: Lithuania & Russia: Lithuanian beer still available Russia – brewers say without their knowledge

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E-Malt.com News article: Lithuania & Russia: Lithuanian beer still available Russia – brewers say without their knowledge
Brewery news

Lithuanian beer with a production date after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine is still available in the Russian market. According to producers, their beer is transported to Russia without their knowledge, lrt.lt reported on September 15.

Recently, activist Oleg Surajev published a video showing the beer of Lithuanian producer Volfas Engelman being loaded onto a truck with Russian plates.

After Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, Volfas Engelman said they would stop trading with the aggressor country. However, the company continues to ship its products to Russia, according to Surajev.

“During these five months of the war, brewers have been shipping [their products to Russia],” he told LRT RADIO.

“They have been shipping their products through third companies. I exposed Lukritma, one such company. It transported [to Russia] not only beer of Volfas Engelman but also of Kalnapilis, which was produced in Lithuania’s Panevė˛ys but destined for the Latvian market,” Surajev added.

Mantas Matukaitis, Volfas Engelman’s Marketing Manager, said he could not confirm the evidence gathered by Surajev regarding the export of the company’s products to Russia. According to him, the company has ceased its exports to the country in two phases.

“The first phase was at the beginning of March when we stopped selling beer directly to Russia,” Matukaitis said.

“The second phase was when there were reports in the media that our beer with dates after the outbreak of the war was still there. Then, in June, we closed the first such channel,” he added.

According to him, Volfas Engelman terminated its relations with distributor Lukritma even before Surajev exposed that the company was still exporting Lithuanian beer to Russia.

“We have already figured out how our products got to the Russian market based on the numbering of the products. We have terminated relations with the distributors who re-exported our beer to Russia,” Matukaitis said.

Volfas Engelman has been working with Lukritma for 10 years. The wholesale and export company has transported beer production to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, and other countries.

Lukritma shipped Volfas Engelman’s production to Russia without the company’s permission, according to Matukaitis.

He said that attempts are being made to combat so-called parallel exports, but it is not easy.

“There are always people who want to make a profit, and with open borders with Russia in certain countries, there is no way to ensure 100 percent that products don’t go there,” Matukaitis said.

Surajev’s investigation also captured Volfas Engelman beer being loaded on the Lithuanian logistics company Girteka’s trucks with Russian plates.

“The company is involved in freight transport. It is no secret that the company still has some traffic to Russia,” said Simonas Bartkus, Girteka’s spokesperson.

“We mainly work with multinationals that continue their activities [in Russia]. Some of our cargo to and from Russia continues to travel, as is the case with most transport companies,” he added.

Asked whether this means that Lithuanian beer also goes to Russia via Girteka, Bartkus said that “this may be the case”.

“As I said, we are involved in transport operations with various customers. These goods include food and beverages, which are probably the main categories of goods that are currently still travelling between Europe and Russia,” he said.

Economist Aleksandras Izgorodinas also said that, based on official statistics, exports from Lithuania to Russia continue to flow.

“In March-July last year, exports of Lithuanian goods to Russia amounted to 150 million euros. In March-July this year, exports to Russia amounted to 62 million euros. Yes, it has decreased, compared to the same period last year, but it is still happening,” the economist said.

15 September, 2022

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