In a move reminiscent of that time the Catholic Church said Galileo actually was right all those 359 years ago, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill officially saying beer is alcohol.
It sounds funny, but the move has real implications for the international brewing industry, American Public Media reports. Unlike vodka, the country’s national drink, beer was never considered alcohol but a food, and was thus exempt from a number of cumbersome regulations. Beer’s sell-anywhere-anytime status attracted international brewers, and sales have been strong since the end of the Soviet Union.
Among the major changes for the industry when the law goes into effect: no more advertising on TV, and no more selling beer at street-corner kiosks. Natalya Zagvozdina of Renaissance Capital in Moscow tells American Public Media that those kiosks represent 10-12 percent of all beer consumption, and their elimination will hurt brewers. Back to vodka!