Yeah, you read that right. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a bill yesterday that classifies beer as alcoholic. It’s actually not as obvious as it sounds. Beer that is less than 10% has been classified as a “foodstuff.” Definition? A substance suitable for consumption as food. The sale of beer hasn’t been controlled in Russia the same way spirits are.
According to the World Health Organization, Russia’s alcohol consumption rate is a full 2x higher than the critical level set by the organization. Beer sales have increased 40%, vodka sales down 30% in the past 10 years. Interestingly, beer has actually been marketed as a healthy alternative to vodka. Apparently, drinking is so common in Russia, people drink beer on the streets and in parks like it’s soda. Beer sales are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by any store that wants to sell it.
This bill opens the door for more legislation to restrict sales by unlicensed vendors, time of day, and who can sell beer. [BBCEurope]