MOSCOW – For many beer loving Russians, 2013 isn’t starting off with the bang usually associated with New Year.
NDJ World | Published: Jan 01 2013 Europe→World News
The brew, which has always been sold in Russia just like any other ‘soft drink’, will become an ‘official alcoholic beverage’ on January 1 2013.
For many Russians, drinking beer is just like drinking water. Indeed they even have a saying in the land of Vodka: “Beer without Vodka is like throwing your money in the wind”.
In other words, for Russians guzzling down beer at a picnic, before a swim or before going to work is like drinking water, it has no effect on them.
But starting January 1, beer that once could be bought on every street corner and in every joint and stand in Russia, will now be classified as an alcoholic beverage and sales of the brew will become controlled and available at authorized outlets only.
No longer will beer be available at metro stations or newspaper stands or even gas stations. The selling of beer will henceforth be strictly controlled and all beer sales will be banned between 11:00PM and 8:00AM.
For Russians, who on average drink 18 liters of pure alcohol per person per year, these restrictions are a national calamity.
Vodka remains Russia’s most popular and most damaging alcoholic drink but beer has been steadily advancing in popularity in recent years. The new measures could be a blow to beer’s challenge.
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