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Regular version of the site

Article

Divergent drinking patterns and factors affecting homemade alcohol consumption (the case of Russia)

International Journal of Drug Policy . 2016. Vol. 34. P. 88-95.

Background: Homemade alcohol consumption is largely unrecorded and has been less examined in the literature. Previous studies of homemade alcohol in Russia have almost entirely focused upon the use of samogon (moonshine) attributed to the Northern style of drinking. No systematic analysis was available regarding the production and consumption of homemade wine. This paper discusses the divergent drinking patterns of consumers of samogon (moonshine) and homemade wine in Russia. The main factors affecting consumption of these beverages are explored.

Method: Data were collected from a 2014 nationwide survey of 14,986 respondents aged 15+ years old. Beverage preferences, volume of consumed alcohol, drinking habits, and alcohol availability were the main measurements reported. Binary logistic regression was used to investigate demographic, socio-economic, spatial, and policy related factors affecting the homemade alcohol consumption.

Results: The percentages of samogon and homemade wine consumers were similar, although a greater volume of samogon was consumed compared to homemade wine. Groups of samogon and homemade wine consumers almost did not overlap. Unlike homemade wine consumers, samogon drinkers consumed larger amounts of alcohol and were more inclined to frequent and excessive drinking, drank without meals and drank in marginal public settings. Gender, education, regional affiliation, and type of residence had opposite associations with the consumption of samogon and homemade wine. Availability of homemade alcohol in the neighborhood including respondents’ own production, obtaining alcohol from local networks and illegal market presented the most influential predictors. Price on legal alcohol did not produce significant effects.

Conclusion: Drinking patterns of homemade alcohol consumption are not homogeneous in Russia. Consumers of samogon and homemade wine demonstrate contrasting drinking patterns. Samogon is consumed in a more hazardous manner whereas homemade wine is consumed in more moderate and law abiding way. Different policy tools are required to regulate two types of homemade alcohol consumption.