Until the moment Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev signed a bill that reclassified beer as an alcoholic beverage, any drink or “foodstuff” in beer’s case under 10% alcohol (beer is around 5% alcohol) was not considered alcoholic.
The World Health Organization along with other health agencies have been scrutinizing Russian consumption of beer which has almost surpassed the consumption of vodka, the Russian staple alcohol.
Most likely because it is being advertised as a more healthy choice than vodka, beer has been selling out rapidly during the past few years as vodka’s popularity slightly waned.
Popularity of beer is so high that beer is casually drunk almost everywhere in public by almost everyone, including public service workers which presented both a health and working problem.
The huge availability of beer at anytime and anywhere in contrast to other alcoholic beverages also makes beer more popular.
In order to control sales and consumption, the Russian government slapped a 200% tax onto the beer industry just last year.
The bill that President Medvedev signed will now allow Russian officials to control beer to the same degree as other alcohol meaning that like other “adult beverages” (vodka included), the sale of beer will be banned in unlicensed stores, kiosks and train stations.
The entire bill will take effect in the year 2013 which will also restrict the selling of beer between the hours of 11 P.M. and 8 A.M.
(Cover Photo: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)