Russia classifies beer as alcoholic

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev raises a glass with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (file image) President Medvedev has ordered a package of measures to counter alcohol abuse in Russia

Related Stories

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill that officially classifies beer as alcoholic.

Until now anything containing less than 10% alcohol in Russia has been considered a foodstuff.

The move, signed into law on Wednesday, will allow ministers to control the sale of beer in the same way that spirits are controlled.

Russian alcohol consumption is already twice the critical level set by the World Health Organization.

Although vodka has long been the traditional tipple in Russia, beer has soared in popularity, being marketed as a healthier alternative to spirits.

Over the past decade, beer sales in Russia have risen more than 40% while vodka sales have fallen by nearly 30%.

Correspondents say it is common to see people swigging beer in the street and in parks as if they are drinking soft drinks.

It is not restricted to certain stores and is sold around the clock.

"The law brings some order into the sale of beer," Vadim Drobiz, director of the Centre for Federal and Regional Alcohol Market Studies, told US broadcaster Bloomberg.

Last year the Russian beer industry was hit by a 200% tax hike on its products as ministers sought to bring consumption under control.

The new measures - which come into effect in 2013 - will stop alcohol being sold in unlicensed kiosks, ban its sale from stores between certain hours and restrict its advertising.

In 2009 President Medvedev ordered the government to prepare draft laws on a package of measures to counter growing alcohol abuse.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FilmsOnes to watch

    BBC Culture picks nine top films coming out next month

Programmes

  • A computer simulation showing a planned station upgrade in Hong KongClick Watch

    How architects are using virtual and augmented reality to transform our cities

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.