Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed legislation that officially classifies beer as alcohol in Russia.
The new law will allow controls on the sale of beer and other “low alcohol” beverages in an attempt to reduce alcohol abuse in Russia, a country with an alcohol consumption that is twice the critical level set by the World Health Organization.
Until now, any drinks containing less than 10 percent alcohol have been classified as a foodstuff in Russia, with no restrictions on sales.
Russians have tended to treat beer as if it were a soft drink, and it is has even been marketed as a healthier alternative to vodka, the BBC says. Beer has soared in popularity in recent years, while vodka sales have fallen.