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

Int J Drug Policy. 2016 Aug:34:88-95. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.04.016. Epub 2016 May 9.


Background: Unrecorded homemade alcohol consumption 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 is available regarding the production and consumption of homemade wine. This paper explores the drinking patterns demonstrated by consumers of samogon and homemade wine in Russia. The main factors affecting the consumption of these beverages are investigated.

Methods: Data were collected from a 2014 nationwide survey of 14,986 respondents aged 15+ years. Beverage preferences, volume of consumed alcohol, drinking habits, and alcohol availability were the main measures reported. Demographic, socio-economic, spatial, and policy-related factors affecting homemade alcohol consumption are examined using logistic regression.

Results: The percentages of samogon and homemade wine consumers were similar, although a greater volume of samogon in pure alcohol was consumed compared to homemade wine. The groups of samogon and homemade wine consumers showed very little overlap. Unlike homemade wine consumers, samogon drinkers consumed larger amounts of alcohol and were more engaged in frequent and excessive drinking, drinking without meals and drinking in marginal public settings. Gender, education, regional affiliation, and type of residence showed opposite associations with regard to the consumption of samogon and homemade wine. Availability of homemade alcohol in the neighbourhood was the most influential predictor due to respondents' own production, presence of homemade alcohol in friendship networks and at illegal market. The prices of manufactured alcohol and the consumption of homemade alcohol did not show significant relationships.

Conclusion: Consumers of samogon and homemade wine demonstrate contrasting drinking patterns that are largely driven by different factors. Samogon is consumed in a more hazardous manner, whereas homemade wine is consumed in a more moderate and law-abiding way. Illegal commercial samogon should be a special concern for alcohol policy.

Keywords: Alcohol consumption; Drinking patterns; Homemade alcohol; Russia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / economics
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wine
  • Young Adult