Home / alcohol / When Will the Prohibitionist War on All Things Good and Holy End?

When Will the Prohibitionist War on All Things Good and Holy End?


This is just outrageous:

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.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Hogan

    tended to treat beer as if it were a soft drink


  • efgoldman

    No WONDER we won the cold war!

  • Malaclypse

    This is so 1751

    On the simplest level, Hogarth portrays the inhabitants of Beer Street as happy and healthy, nourished by the native English ale, and those who live in Gin Lane as destroyed by their addiction to the foreign spirit of gin; but, as with so many of Hogarth’s works, closer inspection uncovers other targets of his satire, and reveals that the poverty of Gin Lane and the prosperity of Beer Street are more intimately connected than they at first appear. Gin Lane shows shocking scenes of infanticide, starvation, madness, decay and suicide, while Beer Street depicts industry, health, bonhomie and thriving commerce, but there are contrasts and subtle details that allude to the prosperity of Beer Street as the cause of the misery found in Gin Lane.

  • Halloween Jack

    Until now, any drinks containing less than 10 percent alcohol have been classified as a foodstuff in Russia

    I could have sworn that there was an Onion article about vegetarians or vegans deciding that cows were a vegetable, but I can’t find it.

    • Hanspeter


      LAS VEGAS — At its annual national conference Saturday, the American Association of Vegans and Vegetarians released results of a detailed in-house study determining that the common beef cow is actually a plant, 100 percent fit for vegetarian consumption.

      “Contrary to what was previously thought, the cow is not a higher form of animal

  • David

    A friend told me that a Russian host-mother told him that he shouldn’t drink so much soda, but drink beer instead, because it was healthier. She didn’t believe him when he mentioned that it was alcoholic.

  • Adam

    Indeed! Who would go so far as to stimulate the consumption of something as tasteless and poor as vodka?

  • Bill Murray

    Ninkasi will not be pleased

  • shah8

    Trying to control alcoholism was a factor in Gorbechev’s fall.

  • PSP

    “Beer ain’t drinking!”
    Mojo Nixon 1997

  • Ian

    I hope this doesn’t affect sales of Kvass. It’s 0.5% alcohol, which hardly counts. Pleasantly beery with a whiff of tamarind. They sell it from roadside stands, at least until now.

    • Daragh McDowell

      As of 2008 (my last visit to the FSU) the Kvass trade is alive and well (and delicious.) I haven’t seen the legislation but since ‘non-alcoholic’ beer in the EU is generally at Kvass levels of alocholic content, I wouldn’t worry. Besides – Russians aren’t really big on ‘rules.’

  • Daragh McDowell

    Proletarii, vsyekh stran, soyediniyates’! You have nothing to lose but your Pilsner…

  • CMW

    Does this mean they’re getting rid of the Gin & Tonic vending machines in the Metro? Or have the jack-booted thugs already gotten them?

    • Once a friend of mine bought a can of “dxin and tonik” at a club in Russia, and complained that it tasted like all tonic and no gin. We looked closely and noticed that the label was a sticker, and when we pulled it off, it was a can of just tonic water (made by the same company.) I looked around the town and noticed the cans w/ the stuck-on label for sale at several places at the time. I’m wasn’t sure who exactly was pulling the scam, but it was probably good for public health.
      (That stuff was also sold in two-liter bottles. A student friend of mine, explaining to me what a good deal it was, told me that it only took one such bottle to get him drunk.)

  • When I first moved to Russia I was shocked to see young kids- maybe 13 or 14- drinking beer and smoking in the middle of town in the day. I think that, officially, you were supposed to be 16 to buy beer at the time, but no one cared, and at the time, beer was cheaper than soda or bottled water- a half liter bottle of pretty good beer (Baltika) cost about 35-50 cents, depending on where you bought it, and you could get stuff still better than bud for about 25 cents. Coke cost about 65 cents at the time. So, lots of beer was drank. You just had to be careful of the Baltika #9, which was about 9% alch, and would do a number on you, especially if you were using to to chase vodka shots. (Also, you had to watch out for the cocktails in a can, and people trying to sell you slightly foamy tea mixed w/ medical spirits as beer, and so on, but that was a different story.)

  • Marek

    Beer IS food. So I don’t understand.

    • dave

      On the one hand, beer built the pyramids; on the other, unless Russia is planning to live by watching oil and gas flow out of the ground, while being incapable of any other meaningful activity, they need to cut down.

It is main inner container footer text