KAZAN: "I winced and spit," said Alyona, 26, recalling the first time she tried craft beer at the bar she works at. However, with time, she came to enjoy such brews. After returning from a vacation, she decided she wanted to have her own business and not just work at an Irish pub. After speaking with a friend, they decided to open a bar specializing in craft beer. The bar opened in May on the popular Baumen street in Kazan. The bar offers about two dozen Russian craft beers and foreign brews as well. Alona splits her time between working at an Irish pub, where I photographed her and the small craft-beer bar. I asked Alyona how her family reacted to her becoming a bar owner. "My mom was scared, she was worried that I would lose all my money. She doesn't understand that I am doing well."
KAZAN: "We were producing the same beer over and over and it got a bit boring," said Dima, who has been runing a small brewing business in Kazan, Russia making a lager for many years. "But I started to see more and more information about craft beer on the Internet and social media and thought this would be a profitable niche." So, last year, he and his partner used their existing capacity at their lager production facility to start Republic Brewing Co, Kazan's first craft beer brand. Craft production was as easy as expected, so the partners invited specialists to help them with the recipes. "The most difficult thing is to make an interesting-tasting beer," he said. "Better to share the profit then get burned." Dima, who does yoga and jogs in his free time, thinks craft beer will continue to gain in popularity in Russia. Dozens of craft beer bars and brewers have popped up in Russia over the past few years. "In two years, every restaurant will offer craft beer."