Last drinks called on beer sales loophole

RUSSIA has moved to close a legal loophole allowing beer to be sold in street kiosks because it was not classified as an alcoholic drink.

“Egged on, some analysts say, by the power of the vodka lobby – the Russian parliament finally passed a bill earlier this year that brings the laws for beer into line with those for other alcoholic drinks,” the British Medical Journal reported.

The move, to take effect from 2013, will halt beer sales from kiosks and at transport hubs, as well as banning sales after 11 pm.

Russia’s per capita beer intake surged almost fivefold in little over a decade, rising from an average 15 litres per head per year in 1995, when foreign breweries first entered the Russian market, to 81 litres a year by 2007.

Overall, Russia is ranked fourth – behind Moldova, Czech Republic and Hungary – for per capita alcohol intake.

BMJ 2011,online 17 August