Russian brewers have asked the agriculture ministry to help them find ways to replace imported hops in the next few years as they fear shortages, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Friday.
Hops are an essential flavouring ingredient and Russian-owned brewers import 98% of the 7,000–7,500 tonnes they use every year, mainly from Germany, the Czech Republic and the United States.
Russia's domestic brewers could also face higher demand as European rivals Carlsberg and Heineken have announced plans to exit the Russian market.
Most Russian-owned firms had enough hops to last them a few months, but would run into serious problems in summer if supplies were disrupted, the Russian Union of Brewers said in a letter seen by Kommersant.
The union asked the government to support the establishment of local production, although the process is likely to take some time.
The Association of Russian Hops Producers estimates that it would need more than RUB 500 million (€5.8 million) in annual state subsidies for 3-5 years to increase production to 1,000 tonnes by 2030, the newspaper said.
Annual inflation in Russia accelerated to 16.70% as of 1 April, its highest since March 2015 and up from 15.66% a week earlier, the economy ministry said, as the volatile rouble sent prices soaring amid unprecedented Western sanctions.
Commodity traders have started diverting sugar shipments away from Russia, according to industry sources and shipping data, a move set to further boost soaring domestic prices and ratchet up pressure on the Russian government to cool food inflation.