Back in February, Hannah blogged about Russia preparing to reclassify beer as alcohol. Five months later, it’s actually happened.
Up until now, the government ruled that any drink with an alcohol content of less than 10% was foodstuff. That meant beer wasn’t regulated as an alcoholic beverage. Considering the levels of alcoholism in Russia are currently double the critical level as determined by the World Health Organization, this new classification is probably a good thing.
On Wednesday President Dmitry Medvedev finally signed legislation stating that all drinks with alcoholic content higher than 0.5% will now be classified as alcoholic and subject to new rules and sales restrictions.
Last year the Russian beer industry was hit by a 200% tax hike on its products in an attempt to create some control. The new law won’t actually come into effect until 2013 when unlicensed kiosks will no longer be able to sell alcohol, stores will have to cease alcohol sales between 11pm and 8am and radio and television ads for alcoholic drinks will be banned.
According to the BBC, “correspondents say it is common to see people swigging beer in the street and in parks as if they are drinking soft drinks.”
Hopefully these new measures will help to get the rampant alcohol abuse under control.
[techtags:RUSSIA, BEER LAWS, BEER CLASSIFICATION]