Abstract

This paper explores heterogeneity of the alcohol drinking patterns in contemporary Russia demonstrated by consumers of homemade alcohol. Demographic, socioeconomic, spatial, and availability factors affecting the consumption of homemade alcoholic beverages are investigated. Data were collected from the RLMS-HSE nationwide survey of individuals aged 15+ years in 2014.

Along with the group of samogon consumers, a group of homemade wine consumers has been revealed for the first time by survey methods. Two groups of samogon and homemade wine consumers are similar in size, show very little overlap, and demonstrate contrasting drinking patterns. Samogon consumers are more addicted to alcohol and drank it in more hazardous ways whereas homemade wine consumers demonstrated more moderate and law-abiding drinking habits.

Past-month drinking of samogon and homemade wine are used as two dependent variables in a binary logistic regression, with demographic, socio-economic, spatial, and availability factors and regional prices of manufactured alcohol as predictors. Samogon consumers are overrepresented among male drinkers, older people, and respondents with a lower level of education and income. They lived in rural areas more and in non-southern regions of Russia. Homemade wine consumers demonstrated the opposite features.

Evaluating the impact of the new alcohol policy of the Russian government, we con clude that the availability of homemade alcohol in respondents’ localities provided the most influential predictors of its consumption whereas price increase for recorded alcohol resulting from the most recent governmental fiscal interventions is not significantly asso ciated with the consumption of homemade alcohol, at least from a short-term perspective.

Keywords: alcohol consumption, homemade alcohol, drinking patterns, alcohol policy, Russia