Russians crank up the stills again

The Russian vodka shortage I reported on earlier is about to end.

Major Russian distilleries began vodka production again today after a forced shutdown caused by a bureaucratic foulup that kept the tax stamps necessary to remain in operation from being distributed.

Kommersant, Russia's online daily, said such distilleries as Veda, Russian Alcohol and OST Group have confirmed that they have refired the stills. However, industry leader Kristall and majors Liviz and Ladoga have not yet resumed production, pending further paperwork.

The national tax service began supplying vodka producers with stamps first because vodka accounts for more than half the alcoholic beverages produced in Russia. Wine producers will have to wait until closer to spring to receive stamps, because their product is less popular in Russia in the winter, Kommersant noted.

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