Russian parliament to ban beer drinking in public places

Brewing companies are at risk of suffering $1.2-1.65 billion of losses

State Duma deputies gave the first reading to amendments to the law about restrictions of retail sales and consumption of beer in public places. According to the approved amendments, it will be allowed to drink beer only in trade or catering locations, where unbottled beer is allowed to be sold. The deputies have already determined a punishment for perpetrators – a 100-ruble fine (about $3). Adequate amendments have already been passed too, the Kommersant newspaper wrote.

There are several obscure aspects in the draft law, the deputies think. For example, it is not known, if it is going to be allowed to drink beer from a bottle enwrapped in a paper or a plastic bag, as it is practiced in the States.  The wording “the sale of unbottled beer” is not clear either: restaurants and bars selling only bottled beer will be outlawed. To crown it all, the draft law does not specify anything about the consumption of alcohol-free beer.

According to experts' estimates, the share of beer drunk outside makes up to 30 percent of beer sales. Brewing companies are at risk of suffering $1.2-1.65 billion of losses. The State Duma has ousted beer from the national television, and now it is aiming to crack down on beer in public places. Amendments to the federal law about advertising came into effect on September 5th, which cut beer commercials shown on the Russian television 2.5 times (it is not allowed to broadcast beer commercials from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m.). In addition, beer adverts are not supposed to say that the beverage is a way to quench thirst. There is a certain list of organizations, in which the advertising of beer and soft alcohol drinks is not allowed. The list includes medical, educational, children's and sports organizations. To crown it all, beer commercials on television can not be designed in the form of cartoons.

Restrictions are not likely to exert any influence on the beer consumption. Russian law-makers will not be able to cut people's access to beer – it is a very popular beverage in present-day Russia. Specialists conducted numerous researches in the USA, Great Britain, France and Sweden, but there was no correlation found between the total volume of advertising and consumption. The spending on beer advertising in Britain increased by 58 percent, for example, whereas the consumption of the beverage dropped by 17 percent.

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Author`s name Olga Savka