Guinness has run out of Moscow’s many Irish pubs after Diageo suspended exports to Russia after invading Ukraine two months ago.
iageo, which makes Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks, Kilkenny and a variety of spirits, said it halted exports to Russia and Ukraine a week after the February 24 invasion began.
More than 750 multinationals have so far said they are halting or ceasing operations in Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine sparked an unprecedented spate of sanctions.
“Our priority is the safety of our people in Ukraine and across the region,” Lisa Cashin, a spokeswoman for Diageo Ireland, said in a statement to the Irish Independent. “We have suspended exports of our products to Ukraine and Russia while we focus on supporting our employees and humanitarian relief efforts.”
Diageo, which began distribution to Russia in 2006, also stopped local production of its beers, which were brewed locally under license from third parties.
Diageo’s business in Russia contributed less than 1 percent to sales and operating profit in the first half of the current fiscal year. The spirits giant has almost 300 employees in Russia and just a handful in Ukraine.
Several pubs in Moscow reported that stocks of Guinness and Kilkenny had completely disappeared and some bars had resorted to selling Western lagers.
“I was in an Irish bar last night and I haven’t had a Guinness in two to three weeks and they say there isn’t any in Moscow,” Irishman Chris Weafer, the founder and chief executive officer of Macro-Advisory, told an aspiring Company consulting firm for markets. “There’s still plenty of harp and plenty of Teeling whiskey, but none of the black stuff.”
Mr Weafer, who has lived and worked in Russia for 24 years, said his pint of harp has risen 60 per cent to 560 rubles ($8.99) from 350 rubles in mid-February. “Many places changed prices when the ruble hit 120 against the dollar on March 8, but didn’t cut back when the ruble rallied to 73 rubles.”
Oleg, a bartender at Harat’s Pub on New Arbat Street in Moscow, said he poured the last pints of Guinness a week ago.
“Unfortunately, our last kegs of Guinness and Kilkenny are empty, but we have many other western beers and Russian beers in stock,” said Oleg. “There is talk of sourcing Russian-made Guinness, but we haven’t seen or tasted it.”
Russian-owned Harat’s, founded in Siberia, claims to be the largest chain of Irish pubs in the world, with 72 pubs in 43 cities across Russia. Harat’s press service did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
There are several pubs in Moscow owned by Irish landlords, including Paddy’s Irish Pub near Belorusskaya train station. Paddy’s is run by Steve Conway, who has two other pubs in the Russian capital.
David Pearce, vice chairman and treasurer of the Irish Business Club in Moscow, held his farewell ceremony at Paddy’s last week after deciding to leave Russia after 22 years.
Mr Pearce and his friends, who included members of Moscow Dragons Rugby Club, were served cans of Guinness as the bar had run out of Irish beer on tap.
“I had a great farewell but it was very sad to leave,” said Mr Pearce, who is now back at his family home in Skerries, Co Dublin.
“About 60 percent of the Irish Business Club have now left Moscow, and I had to leave too, otherwise I could have ended up in prison. It was an easy decision as my wife has family in Ukraine and I had to speak up when people were talking nonsense about the war.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/russia-goes-thirsty-guinness-runs-out-in-moscows-irish-pubs-after-diageo-pauses-exports-41598141.html Russia gets thirsty – Guinness goes out in Moscow’s Irish pubs after Diageo paused exports