Russia restricts beer sales

2nd January, 2013 by Rupert Millar

Russia has clamped down on beer sales in the on-going attempt to tackle the country’s alcohol problem.

hi-russia-beer-rtr31g14The new law, which came into effect on 1 January, was agreed by former president Dmitry Medvedev in July 2011 and now classes beer as a liquor.

As with sales of vodka and other spirits, kiosks and beer stalls will be restricted in how much beer they can sell and will not be allowed to sell any at all between 11pm and 8am.

Current president Vladimir Putin, said the step was necessary as he acknowledged the country’s battle with alcoholism, which is the cause of an estimated one in every five male deaths in Russia, according to the World Health Organisation, and 6% of female deaths.

Beer taxes in Russia have also been rising steadily of late, up 20% last year and with a further 25% rise expected this year and perhaps another 20% again in 2014.

The news will be a blow to the big brewers such as AB InBev and Carlsberg, who initially regarded Russia as a promising growth market, but have found their profits gradually eroded by such measures.

Recently several Russian airlines announced they were banning customers from keeping bottles of duty free alcohol with their cabin luggage, as drunken incidents increased.

Minimum prices for wine and vodka have also been set or are being considered.

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