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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 19:42 GMT
Russia mulls beer drinking curbs
Russian beer drinkers
Beer is officially a soft drink, sold cheaply at 24-hour street kiosks
The upper house of the Russian parliament has poured cold water on a bill that would have banned the consumption of beer in public.

The move, already approved by the lower house, could deal a huge blow to Russia's booming beer industry.

But a diluted version of the bill may emerge, after a commission reworks the legislation to try to secure approval by both houses of parliament.

Beer consumption in Russia has doubled in the past five years.

Around 30% of the beer bought in Russia is consumed immediately, as many people find it too expensive to buy alcohol at restaurants and bars.

Russia has around 600,000 beer vendors and brewer SUN Interbrew says over 65% of its sales are made via street kiosks.

The surge in beer sales follows a ban on drinking vodka and other strong liquor in public - part of attempt by the Kremlin to curb Russia's hard-drinking culture.

But that plan may have backfired, with rising widespread anxiety about drunken, rowdy youth.

Russia introduced tough beer advertising laws in September, banning commercials between the hours of 0700 and 2200.

The use of people and animals in beer ads will be prohibited as of next year.

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12 Sep 04 |  Business
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