Do all the Russians love vodka as much as people think they do? Alcohol consumption in Russia overview


Do all the Russians love vodka as much as people think they do? Alcohol consumption in Russia overview

In this article we are going to approve or to ruin a myth about vodka consumption in Russia. Is vodka really the most drunk thing among other alcoholic drinks in Russia? We have analysed a dataset containing information about alcohol consumption in Russia, comparing and highlighting the most and least loved drinks, the most and the least drinking regions. To check the report out  click here .

What information was used in the research?


The dataset contains information  about alcohol consumption in different regions of Russia from 1996 till 2016 divided by the drink type. These are the main keys of the dataset: “year”, “region”, drink types like “wine”, “vodka”, “beer”, “brandy” and “champagne”.

Average alcohol consumption by years and drink type

Let’s see how the alcohol consumption in Russia changed over the years without partition by the regions.


As we can see from the chart, Russians are tending to drink beer and wine, whereas vodka consumption is decreasing year by year. Champagne and brandy consumption rates are lower than the other ones over the decades.

Now we want to consider each drink separately, starting with beer that showed the highest consumption rates. 



As we can see the peak of beer consumption was in 2008 and in 2012 and after that the rates have fallen down. Beer consumption in Russia increased several times during the reporting period from 20,4 litres in 1998 to 66 litres in 2012. This fact means that beer consumption HAS TRIPLED! The numbers are really overwhelming. 

As regards beer-loving regions, in 1998 they were Omsk Oblast (42.2 litres) and Republic of Khakassia (38.3 litres). Now beer is chosen by Moscow inhabitants (99.1 litres) and Kamchatka Krai (85.4 litres).

 Dagestan Republic (1 litre) and Chechen Republic(1.2 litres) do not prefer beer.



Considering wine, the consumption rate peak was in 2010, where the number exceeded 7,4 litres per capita. At the beginning of the accounting period, the lowest wine consumption was in the beginning of the analysis period — 3 litres per capita per year. 

The most wine-drinking regions in Russia used to be Stavropol and Krasnodar Krai, were consumption rate exceeds 8,8 litres per capita per year, but their places are taken by Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Republic of Karelia, where they drink more than 11 litres per year. 

Reflecting on the numbers, we can say that even though the consumption increased two times, that is making wine the most loved drinks of Russians.

From the image we can make a conclusion that Russians rarely drink wine but the tendation is growing. Though there are regions that are the most sober in terms of wine. In the first place of the top 5 regions in Chechen Republic where wine is not drunk at all and the top is closed by the Ulyanovsk Oblast, where consumption rates do not exceed 1 litre per capita per year.

 Probably wine is drunk on certain occasions, as well as the champagne that I am going to talk about now.



During the analysis period champagne consumption in Russia increased from 0,9 litres per capita in 1998 to 1,3 litres in 2016. The peak was during the same period as a beer peak. In 2011-2012 years consumption was 1,8 litres per capita. Champagne consumption is few times less than the other drinks that we have already discussed. Champagne can take second place in the top 5 least drunk drinks. The first place in this list among researched types of alcohol belongs to brandy.

Over the years and decades we can notice Moscow in the top of the champagne-drinking cities. It is clear, because it is the capital of Russia and a centre of celebrating and idle life, and as we know, champagne is a trademark of partying and rich life. In 1998 champagne consumption was 3.5 litres per person, and in 2016 — 4 litres

East of Russia has always been a region with low alcohol consumption. In some regions, like already known by us Chechen Republic, champagne consumption did not exceed 0 litres. 




Brandy consumption, the same as other drinks reviewed earlier, increased.

In 1998 the brandy consumption was 0,2 litres per capita and in 2016 — 0,7 litres. The peak number occurred for 2012 when the consumption reached 0,8 litres per capita per year.

Brandy drinking regions used to be the regions where it was being produced, in particular Sevastopol (1.1 l)  and the Republic of Crimea (0.9 l).

By 2016 top of the regions with the highest brandy consumption looked like this:

  1. Murmansk Oblast — 1.9 litres
  2. Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug — 1.3 litres
  3. Moscow Oblast — 1.3 litres
  4. Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug- Yugra — 1.3 litres
  5. Kamchatka Krai — 1.3 litres

In terms of brandy, Chechen Republic is again the most sober region. In the Republic of North Ossetia — Alania consumption rates are not exceeding 0.1 litres per capita per year.


And what about vodka?


It’s obvious that vodka is the only drink consumption rate of which one has fallen with the time, not risen. Thus, Russians could be the most vodka-drinking nation in the world but probably only in 2002. During the first years of the reporting period have shown small increase. But since 2002 to 2016 vodka consumption significantly decreased. In 1998 vodka consumption in Russia was 12,7 litres per capita but in 2016 — 6,6 litres. Thus, it became twice less than in the beginning of the period. 

In 1998, the most vodka-drinking region was Kamchatka Krai — 25 litres per person per year. It is noteworthy that only the most eastern regions made it to the top of the most vodka-drinking regions. In 1998 Magadan Oblast was in the top 5 regions by beer, wine and vodka consumption per person. 

All in all, vodka consumption in the accounting period has sufficiently decreased and in 2016 ceiling values were lower than ceiling values in 1998. Concurrently, the top of the regions has also changed.

Top 5 regions by vodka consumption in 2016:

  1. Sakhalin oblast — 12.8 litres
  2. Magadan Oblast — 12.7 litres
  3. Komi Republic — 12.5 litres
  4. Murmansk Oblast — 12.2 litres
  5. Republic of Karelia — 12.2 litres

Let’s take a look at the top regions with the least vodka consumption in 1998: Republic of Dagestan — 2 litres, Republic of Adygea — 3.4 litres. By 2016 top of the regions with the lowest rates of vodka consumption had changed in this way: Republic of Northern Ossetia-Alania — 0.4 litres, Kabardino-Balkar Republic — 0.5 litres. 

Southern regions of Russia are different in low vodka consumption rates. There is obvious positive momentum in decreasing vodka consumption in Russia from 1998 till 2016.

During the accounting period in the region with the highest consumption rates the consumption decreased from 25.1 litres to 12.8 litres per person per year. Minimal consumption has also decreased from 2 litres to 0.4 litres per person per year.


Regions with the highest consumption rates of alcohol in Russia

Summing up everything said before and the report, we can come to realise that the drinking regions are almost the same, but some kinds of alcohol can be more popular in certain regions but not in the others. For example, vodka is preferred in the North-West of Russia where the numbers exceed 12 litres per capita per year. Kamchatka Krai and Moscow are present in almost every chart that can be serving as a matter of calling them most-drinking regions of Russia. Inhabitants of Republic of Khakassia are tending to drink beer – from the beginning of an accounting period till the end of it, consumption rate of beer has doubled.

Regions with the least consumption rates of alcohol in Russia


Republic of Northern Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Republic of Dagestan and Chechen Republic are the regions with the lowest alcohol consumption rates in Russia. Wine and brandy aren’t drunk in Chechen Republic, in terms of beer Chechen Republic took second place in top of the regions with the least beer consumption. The Republic of Dagestan has made it to be in the top-list of the least drinking regions towards vodka, wine, champagne and beer. 

Chukotka used to be among one of the regions with the lowest consumption rate. We can see this region in the tops in terms of beer (1.8 litres) and vodka (4.6 litres). By 2016 alcohol consumption comparing to the other parts of the country has risen and Chukotka has left the top of the regions with the lowest alcohol consumption rates.

A special place in the top of the regions with the least alcohol consumption is taken by Northern Ossetia, which hasn’t made it to the top in 1998 but where the alcohol consumption has decreased by 2016. In 2016 Northern Ossetia has taken the 3rd place by wine consumption (0.5 litres), 4th place by beer drinking (17.3 litres), 1st place by vodka consumption (0.4 litres), 5th place by champagne consumption (0.4 litres) and 2nd place by brandy consumption (0.1 litres).

Such Southern regions of the country as Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Kalmykia, Adygea and Stavropol Krai are also in the top of the regions with the lowest alcohol consumption rates.


So, do Russians drink a lot of vodka?

As we have clarified, Russians like drinking beer much more than vodka. Vodka consumption is decreasing year by year. 

We like the fact that Russians are tending to prefer wine and beer over spirits. Hopefully, alcohol culture will be getting better with years. 


Do you agree with the conclusions? Did you like the article? What alcohol do you prefer?

Anna Prymak editor

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