Russia classifies beer as alcoholic

The amendments to the Federal Law "On state regulation of production and turnover of ethyl spirit, alcohol and spirit-containing products and limitation of alcohol consumption (drinking)" entered into force on July 01, 2012. (Hereinafter - the Law "On the production and turnover of alcohol").

According to the amendments any food product containing more than 0.5% (instead of the current 1.5%) of ethyl spirit will be considered an alcoholic product. Beer is also classified as an alcoholic product as seen in paragraph 13.1 article 2 of the Law "On the production and turnover of alcohol".

As a result of its classification as an alcoholic product, the sale of beer will have to comply with the legislative requirements currently applicable to the sale of ethyl spirit, violation of which is punishable under article 14.16 of Administrative Violations Code of the Russian Federation.

Due to changes in the law "On the production and turnover of alcohol," the Federal Law "On Advertising" was also amended. The amendments to the Law "On advertising" came into effect on July 23, 2012. According to these amendments:

  1. Advertising of alcoholic products containing 5% or more ethyl will only permitted in print media (subject to certain limitations), in stationary retail stores engaged in sale of alcoholic products and on the Internet.
  2. Advertising of any alcoholic products will be prohibited in television programmes, broadcasts on TV channels, which are accessible only on payment basis through decoding devices. This prohibition will completely exclude the possibility to advertise alcohol on television: under the current legislation advertisement of beer and beer-based beverages is allowed on television at night (from 22.00 to 7.00), but there are no restrictions on advertising of alcoholic products for pay television programmes (broadcasts on TV channels).
  3. Advertising of alcoholic products will be prohibited in all types of public transport vehicles as well as their use. The ban is also effective for advertising outside (inside) buildings used for the functioning of public transport vehicles, except places for retail sale of alcoholic products.
  4. Advertising of lotteries, competitions, games or other similar incentive events will not be permitted, if it will involve the purchase of alcoholic products. The only exception is for special incentive events organized for the sale of alcoholic products.
  5. Advertising campaigns involving distribution of alcoholic product samples will be permitted only in stationary stores (including degustation facilities of such stores). These amendments state that such advertisements are allowed in organizations engaged in the retail sale of alcoholic products.

New requirements have been introduced to advertising of alcoholic products:

  1. Advertisements won't be allowed to provide information on dietary supplements and vitamins in alcoholic products.
  2. Advertisement of alcoholic products may not contain any images of people or animals (including animation). This requirement currently applies only to the advertisement of beer. For other alcoholic products the use of images of minors is prohibited.
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