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Apr 17, 2014

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No beer for kids?

Russians consider re-labeling beer alcoholic beverage, adding restrictions

June 24, 2004 - Because beer in Russia is considered a "light alcoholic" drink it is sold alongside milk and orange juice, and anybody may buy or sell it - even teenagers. Russian legislators are considering changing that.

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At the urging of the City of Moscow, the legislature is considering labeling beer a full-fledged alcoholic beverage, a change that would restrict where beer can be sold and how it can be advertised. Most dramatically, to buy a beer you would have to be at least 18 years old.

"Young people think beer is not alcohol, so they've been drinking it all their lives," said Vladislav Kiselyev, a spokesman for the Moscow City Duma, which forwarded to parliament a bill to declare beer alcoholic. "You see children drinking beer on their way to school."

The law would represent a full-scale reversal of the country's attitude to beer. Nine years ago, when a law was drafted to regulate the advertising and sale of alcohol, beer was intentionally left off the list of alcoholic beverages. Lobbyists then argued that regulation could kill Russia's fledgling brewing industry, and that vodka was the real alcoholic demon.

Since then, beer sales have surged. From 2000 to 2003, beer consumption nearly doubled, and in 2002 beer sales in 2002 eclipsed those of vodka for the first time.


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