Next up is on the table, right next to Brazil, is Russia … yes, it had to be done at some point.
On good old RateBeer we have 6,125 users that have rated at least one beer from the country.
Russia, or as it is also known, the Russian Federation, is the largest country in the world. To give you an example of its sheer size — if the country’s largest region, the Republic of Sakha, was an independent country, it would be the eighth largest in the world, just behind India .
Russia is home to both the longest river (the Volga) and highest peak (Mount Elbrus) in Europe.
Until very recently, Russia was largely known for its art , literature , music , ice skating and other winter sports , and various achievements and failures in the Soviet period, as well as a number of frozen conflicts, the almost bloodless annexation of Crimea in 2014, and, of course “legitimately elected democratic leader” Vladimir Putin and his Soviet predecessors. These days, however, Russia is a bit of a pariah state (in Europe and the US anyway). I won’t go into detail because I’m sure everyone knows why.
Russia has traditions that stretch back centuries, but only relatively recently has beer become a popular drink among the masses. If the current statistics are right, then beer is now the most popular drink, with vodka in a close second.
Breweries can be found in 80 of the country’s 83 (internationally recognised) regions, as well as Crimea and Sevastopol.
As for the Russian craft scene… well, it has only existed since about 2010, and experienced a boom in the past five or so years. The scene has generally followed global trends with a big spike in hazy IPAs, pastry stouts and smoothie sours, but for some reason, there has also been an obsession with tomato goses and food-flavoured beers (KFC beer anyone? Or how about kimchi beer?). Recently, some of the more well-known breweries have thankfully began pivoting towards classic styles.
This year looks like the year that craft has gone mainstream, but it seems to be driven by the need to replace similarly-priced imports that have stopped either due to the breakdown in logistics chains or due to companies pulling out (BrewDog, Diageo, Plzensky Prazdroj, etc.). It remains to be seen how things will develop, given the economic downturn and heavy (98%) dependence on imported hops.
As for RateBeer, which has never been that popular here (folks are bloody loving UnTappd, however), our database contains 584 active breweries, 18 meaderies, 27 cideries, and 0 sake producers.
It takes a respectable 115 beers to enter the top 50.
As it stands, the biggest raters of Russian beers is Belarusian @alex_leit , with a large 4,478 Russian beer ratings, or 44% of the current database (nice work). The top ten is actually quite diverse, with three raters based in Russia , two in Belarus , two in Estonia , two in Israel , and one in Switzerland .
As for raters inside the country itself, @sharkydodson holds the top spot with more than 5k rakes:
Special stats mention: I have racked up the most brewery ratings (239 or 240, RateBeer cannot seem to decide), as well as the most regions (61 out of 83).
Anyway, please share your stats and stories. And happy Friday to all!