Medvedev signs bill classifying beer as alcohol

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill officially classifying beer as an alcoholic drink, thereby restricting its sales, the Kremlin said.

Under the bill, alcoholic drinks, including beer, can only be sold in licensed stores.

Beer was earlier classified in Russia as a foodstuff.

The bill comes into force on January 1, 2013.

Russia has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world, with around 40 percent of people drinking excess amounts on a regular basis, according to health ministry statistics.

In August last year, the Russian president passed a law restricting sales of beverages containing more than 15 percent alcohol between 10 pm and 10 am in a bid to curb the problem, which is one of Russia’s biggest killers.

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