Vice Squad
Monday, September 13, 2004
Russia Limits Beer Ads on TV

Mike is in Moscow, so it has fallen to me to bring this BBC story to your attention -- thanks to a friend of Vice Squad for the pointer. A reported surge in youth drinking is motivating the beer ad clampdown:
The new law bans beer commercials from TV and radio between 7am and 10pm, and outlaws portrayals of people, animals or cartoon characters.

Nor can ads present beer drinking as likely to make anyone healthy, wealthy or sexy. A ban on posters near schools, gyms or cultural centres makes brewers' voluntary codes compulsory.
The article asserts that beer consumption, on the rise in Russia, is not coming at the expense of vodka consumption; rather, they are said to go together. But that is not what the aggregate statistics indicate. (I will try to provide the actual stats and a source tomorrow, as they are not currently at my fingertips.) Vodka drinking has fallen considerably, while both beer and "other" (and in Russian circumstances, "other" can cover some surprising substances) have jumped in popularity among alcoholic beverages.

Incidentally, I was quite surprised last year when I found that at a nearby grocery store here in Chicago, I could purchase Baltica beer, from St. Petersburg.

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