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Russia to class beer as alcohol

Beer is to be legally classified as an alcoholic drink in Russia for the first time, according to a report.
It's part of the Kremlin's toughest anti-alcohol campaign since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Beer had been classified as a foodstuff which meant producers could avoid a crackdown on alcohol advertising and night-time sales says an orange news report.
But a new bill will abolish beer's special status.
“Normalising the beer production market and classifying it as alcohol is totally the right thing to do and will boost the health of our population,” said Yevgeny Bryun, the ministry of health's chief specialist on alcohol and drug abuse, was quoted as saying.
"We have been talking about and have wanted such a measure for ages. I take my hat off to the parliament."
The new law would restrict beer sales at night, ban its sale in or close to many public places such as schools, and limit cans and bottles to a maximum size of 0.33 litres, the report said.
Russia's beer consumption has more than tripled in the past 15 years, boosted by low prices, ready availability and lax regulation.
But with vodka remaining the national tipple, many Russians regard beer as a soft drink.
It's not uncommon to see men swigging a can of beer on their way to work or teenagers downing a lunchtime beer or two in the park.

25 Feb. 2011

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