Medvedev Signs Law Restricting Russian Beer, Alcohol Sales

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev approved a measure curbing the sale of alcoholic beverages such as beer, attempting to reduce illegal production and alcoholism.

Medvedev signed the legislation, the Kremlin said today in an e-mailed statement.

The law will control beer production and sales because it’s an alcoholic beverage, and will prohibit beer sales from kiosks by 2013, according to the text, available on the Russian parliament’s website. The law also restricts advertising for alcoholic drinks, bans stores from selling alcohol from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. and establishes licensing for alcohol transportation.

“The law brings some order into the sale of beer,” said Vadim Drobiz, director of the Center for Federal and Regional Alcohol Market Studies, speaking by phone. “The restrictions will not reduce beer consumption.”

Russians consumed about 12.5 liters of alcohol a person last year, with beer accounting for about 4 liters and vodka for more than 5 liters, Drobiz said. Kiosks sell at least 30 percent of beer consumed in Russia, he added.

The law will reduce illegal production, said Dmitry Dobrov, chairman of Russia’s Union of Liquor Producers. The group’s members make more than half of the country’s liquor production. The amount of illegal spirits has declined to as low as 20 percent from 45 percent before 2008, when Russia imposed federal regulations on the industry, Dobrov said. The new rules could reduce the amount to the level seen in other consumer goods, of about 2 percent to 5 percent, he said.

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