President Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation has signed off on a bill that officially labels beer as an alcoholic product instead of a foodstuff. This redefined status of beer will result in the product being subjected to the same regulations as spirits which means restricting the locations where beer can be sold and banning all beer advertising.
Beer was previously categorized as a foodstuff for containing less than 10 percent alcohol by volume. Consequently beer was sold as any other food product, available everywhere, anywhere. While originally Russia never had a big culture of beer drinking, the Russian beverage of choice being vodka, this has changed over recent years. With the influx of international brewers, beer consumption has grown by more than 40 percent while the consumption of Vodka has dropped by a third.
Initially the Russian government looked at beer as a harmless alternative to vodka and welcomed the new trend of rising beer consumption and dropping consumption of vodka. Of late however the error in this way of thinking has become apparent and the administration has taken steps to stop the growth of beer consumption. The first step was tripling the tax on beer. The new law takes thing further banning sales of alcohol on all forms of transport (including at stations and airports), and bans advertising on television, radio and billboards.
There are also plans for restrictions on the time when beer can be sold. While the legislation was passed by parliament earlier this year, it will not come into effect for nearly 18 months.
Source: Independent.co.uk 07/21/11