Beer is to be legally classified as an alcoholic drink in Russia for the first time

A couple of weeks ago, the Russian parliament passed its first reading of a bill that will re-classify beer as alcohol and not as food. This current state of affairs has meant that beer producers have been exempt from recent changes in alcohol policy.

The law will restrict beer sales at night, ban its sale in or close to public places such as schools, and limit the size of cans and bottles to a maximum 0.33 litre sales.

Beer consumption has tripled in Russia over the past 15 years, although it still lags behind the United States and China.

Rates of FASD are not known in Russia. However, data from the World Health Organization indicates that 2.58% of women have an alcohol use disorder and that 5.8% of women drinkers can be considered “heavy episodic drinkers.”

Russia is often rated as among “the heaviest five drinkers in the world.”  Reportedly, President Dmitry Medvedev has declared the country’s drinking problem “a national disaster”.  Recently, there have been attempts to address the health and social consequences of alcohol misuse.

Read more:

Beer to be classified as alcohol for first time in Russia (The Daily Telegraph, Feb 23, 2011)

Russia declares war on alcoholism (RIA Novosti, January 14, 2010)

World Health Organization, Country Profile: Russian Federation (Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, 2011)