Anadolu Efes corporate and regulatory affairs group director, Saltuk Ertop, told BeverageDaily.com that beer in Turkey was already very heavily taxed – the highest excise in Europe after Finland.
“New measures will probably limit the growth potential of the industry in the coming years,” he warned; SAB Miller has a 24% stake in Anadolu Efes, which is listed on the Turkish Stock Exchange.
Anadlou Efes held an 89% share of the Turkish beer market in October 2011, and Ertop assessed the impact off the new law, introduced in May, that includes restrictions on the marketing and sale of alcoholic beverages including beer.
Harming sales? Too early to tell...
“Some of the restrictions are already in-force (such as advertisements), but some others (such as a night sales ban) are coming into force gradually,” he said.
“We therefore believe that it is a bit early to talk about the consequences of the new law on our sales results,” Ertop said.
“However, one can anticipate that these restrictions will increase the pressure on the industry in Turkey.”
The Turkish government also issued rules relating to the labelling of drinks around a week ago, and beer bottles and cans (subject to a 10-month implementation phase) must now carry cigarette-style packet warning messages such as 'Alcohol is Not Your Friend'.
Carlsberg yet to see volume effects
Given Turkey's status as a secular democratic republic, controversy over the new restrictions reflect the wider political disagreements between prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party and liberals in the country.
“As far as the health warnings on the products are concerned, we as Efes are ready to implement them. We do not expect any major impact of the warnings on total consumption,” Ertop said.
Carlsberg brands SKOL, Carlsberg and Turborg are brewed in Turkey by another major national brewer Turk Tuborg, which is owned by Israel based CBC Group.
Ben Morton, Carlsberg spokesman, told this publication: “We have been working together with our partner to ensure we are complying with all parts of the new regulation.
“We have not seen any volume effects in the market yet,” he added.
Diageo refused to comment directly last Thursday on the effects of the new law on its spiritis business Mey Icki, insisting only that it was committed to the market and its Turkish operations.