MOSCOW – A big question for many Russians in 2013 may be, “How do I get a beer around here?”
Under a law that took effect on New Year’s Day, selling beer at Russia’s ubiquitous kiosks is banned. Beer now can be purchased only at restaurants, cafes and stores of at least 50 square meters (about 500 square feet).
The law also changes beer’s classification from a food to an alcoholic beverage, meaning it can’t be sold in any store from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Kiosks mushroomed along Russian sidewalks and roadsides after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, reflecting a lively but disorderly free market. In recent years, kiosks have gradually faded away as conventional stores got more of a foothold, but they are still common.