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Beer now considered alcohol and not food in Russia

January 2, 2013

Russians will now have a tougher time getting beer than they once did after 2013 rang in. According to The Telegraph, many Russians consider beer to be somewhat of a soft drink, something they drink casually no matter the time of day. Some even mock how "weak" they believe beer is, but many may be surprised to learn it is now considered an alcoholic drink.

Prior to the start of 2013, anything under 10 percent in strength wasn't considered alcohol, and beer could be purchased just about anywhere. This was even true for 24-hour places, so no matter what time of day, consumers could always get a beer. Now, Russians will not be able to buy beer at kiosks or gas stations, just at licensed stores, according to the media outlet.

"It will be tougher if you want to buy a beer on the way home from work, or pop down from your apartment," Isaac Sheps, chairman of the Union of Russian Brewers, told London's Daily Telegraph. "So you have to stock at home. And stocking beer is more problematic than stocking vodka. It's bulky, it's big and there's no room for it in small homes. It's much easier to buy two bottles of vodka and manage for your instant need for alcohol."

Sheps went on to say how ironic it was that the nation is trying to make its residents healthier, but in fact, it could be encouraging people to opt for stronger drinks, the news outlet reports.

According to NBC News, Russia and vodka have gone hand-in-hand for many years. Approximately 50 percent of the alcohol sales in the country are of vodka, with beer at 32 percent and wine at just 10 percent. The average Russian drinks the equivalent of 32 pints of pure alcohol each year. In addition, it is believed that 500,000 deaths each year are suspected to be alcohol-related.

This new law is one of the many measures as of late being led by the Russian government to reduce the number of people drinking and keeping up with various other bad habits such as smoking and poor diets, the media outlet reports.

Those who want to talk about the recent law can make calls to Russia using international calling cards

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