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The market for alcoholic beverages has changed beyond all
recognition in eastern Europe during the course of the last ten
years. Where there was once nothing but state controlled beer and
liquor companies there is now growing choice and sophistication. In
more recent years a flood of exported alcohols and rising wealth
have given way to demand for more premium products, which in turn
has led domestic companies to also broaden their offerings.

This week's product launches feature a variety of alcohols from the premium end, with beer, an RTD mixer and wine all in the offing.

In Russia OPZ is launching Siberian Crown Pasteurise lager in 500ml bottles that will retail for €0.64. Said to have a soft, rich taste and a distinct amber colour it has a relatively high alcohol content of 6 per cent. The all-new product launch appears on the market this month in bars and shops in both St Petersburg and Moscow and will eventually be launched across the whole of the country.

PET plastic is the choice of packaging for the Hungarian Borosodi Brewery's Sör Lager Beer. PET packaging is growing in importance in central Europe, particularly in the packaging of beer, where there has been a raft of launches over the course of the last year. This new lager comes in 750ml bottles made by one of the country's best known domestic brewers. It has a 4.6 per cent alcohol content and is described as having a light taste.

Borsodi has two launches in Hungary this month, the second being new packaging for its well known Borostyan Ivy Beer. Packaged in 500ml aluminium cans, the beer, which has an alcohol content of 5.2 per cent and is made from special base materials, carries the brand's traditional logo.

In recent years there has been much talk about the strength of the beer market. However, as that market now shows increasing signs of maturing, attention is now turning to both premium beers and the RTD liquor market. Following this trend, Ost-Aqua is launching its IQ Classic Gin Club Drink. Packaged in a 275ml glass bottle and retailing at €0.72 this gin and tonic drink comes in original, lemon and peach varieties and has an alcohol content of 9 per cent.

Meanwhile the Czech market is witnessing the launch of Macedonian red wine. Druzstevni Vinné Skelpy Hodonin is launching the Rulandské Modré Wine in 750ml bottles that will retail for €2.59. The makers claim the wine is a high quality dry red with an alcohol content of 11.5 per cent.

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