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Russia may ban sales of beer in PET

Russia may ban sales of beer in PET
Russia may ban sales of beer in plastic bottles, Kommersant daily said, citing a new draft of a controversial law which which brewers say could hurt their sales.

Russian brewers sell nearly half their beer in plastic bottles, Kommersant said.

The new draft, which was sent to the government for review before progressing in the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, bans sales in PET plastic bottles from January 1, 2013. Kommersant quoted the law's parliamentary sponsor, Viktor Zvagelsky, as saying the restriction brought Russia in line with regulations in Kazakhstan. Together with Belarus, they form a three-country customs union.

Russia's brewers -- mostly owned by foreign names such as Anheuser Busch InBev and Carlsberg - have promoted sales of beer in large-volume plastic bottles, though aluminium cans produced by a local unit of Rexam (REX.L) have taken some share. The paper quoted spokesmen for both InBev and Carlsberg's Baltika as saying the measure would hit demand.

Russia raised excise tax on beer over protest from the brewing industry last year, and the draft law also places restrictions on strong beer and beer sales at night.

Kommersant quoted a Rexam source as saying that by 2013 the company could increase output to make up for banned plastic bottles.

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