Judging by the statistics of search queries, thousands of Russians confuse drinks. When the hype arose, “Mr. Fox” disappeared from the Heineken website, Octagon noted.
Back in May 2023, as follows from the information on the website page saved by search engines, there was Mr. Fox apple cider in the Heineken-Russia catalog. However, in June, amid reports of poisonings and checks on manufacturers, the catalog was closed – instead of a list of ciders, the site gives a 404 error (page not found).
Judging by the statistics of Yandex and Google, consumers confuse the names of the ciders “Mr. Fox” and “Mr. Cider” (the latter claimed 36 lives in June 2023).
The name “Mr. Cider” is imitative of the “Mr. Fox” brand. The latter went on sale in 2018 with a massive marketing campaign – it is included in the top ten brands that Heineken is proud of in Russia. In turn, Mister Cider entered the market no earlier than 2020 and became a regional product. Heineken United Breweries LLC has two trademarks for “Mr. Fox”, while Andy and Varka have not patented the name of the drink. Most likely, in order to avoid claims from Heineken, they did not apply to Rospatent with their product, and subsequently, due to mass cider poisoning, the St. Petersburg “Fox” was among the most affected goods.
The Russian branch of Heineken claims that the company did not specifically remove the Mister Fox cider from the site:
– Now the site is under maintenance, as some of the information on it was outdated. We are just in the process of renewal, which still takes time and effort. As for the product, it is obvious that the products of our company, which produces cider under the brand name “Mr. Fox”, has nothing to do with the tragic mass poisonings with the alcohol-containing drink “Mr. Cider”.
Heineken, we recall, planned to sell the business in Russia. In April 2023, it was reported that Heineken found a buyer for Russian assets, but it is not known who exactly. The Dutch company estimated losses from leaving the Russian Federation at 400 million euros, and the cost of Russian assets for sale at 475 million euros.
Retail sales of cider in the country have already fallen – the volume can be tracked using the information of retail chains, which are aggregated by their providers of cash solutions (fiscal data operators). According to the Chek Index analytical resource (owned by OFD Platform, a large fiscal data operator), the number of cider purchases for the period from June 1 to June 12 decreased by 29 percent year-on-year. At the same time, the average bill increased by 10 percent over the year to 235 rubles. According to rival company Evotor, from June 5 to 11, 2023, cider sales in Russia decreased by 37 percent in volume terms compared to the previous week. The press service of the OFD Platform notes that they cannot provide information on sales of a particular brand (Mr. Fox) without the consent of the supplier-manufacturer.
The decline in sales will be observed no longer than one to three months, says Vadim Drobiz, director of the Center for Research on Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets (CIFRRA), in a conversation with Oktagon.
“Judging by the previous mass poisonings in Russia, in a month the fear of poisoning will disappear again, and consumers will forget, and the media. It has always been like this, it practically does not depend on the segment. ”
Vadim Drobiz | Director of the Center for Research on Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets
“In 2016, the audience of poisoning with fake hawthorn tincture in Irkutsk was poor, but not a single homeless person and antisocial person – state employees and pensioners,” says the expert. – They are also poisoned in the middle segment – for example, with the Bacardi pseudorum. Poison’s audience this month is midway between lower and middle class consumers. I will say a seditious thing, but in our country, in principle, they are poisoned a little by surrogate alcohol: 10,000 deaths a year, of which 9,000 deaths are from overdrinking, and a thousand are due to the fault of the manufacturer, due to methyl alcohol. The entire market of illegal products is 500 million liters per year.