As from 2013 producers of alcoholic beverages containing more than 28 % alcohol are banned from advertising these products in any print media, radio, TV, transport, Internet or near educational institutions. In addition, higher prices have been set for their products due to the introduction of minimum prices for spirits stronger than 28% alcohol proof by the Russian Government.

Meanwhile, the State Duma has adopted amendments that simplify the regulation of production and sale of low-alcohol drinks, such as mead (honey beverage), cider and perry (pear cider).

As of 1 March 2013 sole entrepreneurs will have the right to sell these drinks along with beer. Neither organisations nor sole entrepreneurs will be required to have a licence to produce and sell such low-alcohol drinks. Producers will have to provide their basic technical equipment with automatic devices for metering and recording the volume of their final products.

Moreover, lower excise rates have been set for such drinks between 1 March 2013 and 31 December 2015 (Article 193(1) of the Russian Tax Code).

Last year several Russian regions attempted to prohibit selling energy drinks. The Russian Supreme Court and the Federal Antimonopoly Service recognised such measures as unlawful and being outside the scope of local authorities’ powers. Nevertheless, it will be considered at a federal level shortly whether to ban the production, distribution and import into Russia of low-alcohol and soft energy drinks (other than tea and coffee and soft drinks based on tea and coffee essence).

[Federal Law No. 259-FZ “On Amending the Federal Law “On State Regulation of Production and Turnover of Ethanol, Spirits and Alcohol-containing Products and on Limitation of Alcohol Consumption (Drinking)” and Part Two of the Russian Tax Code”, dated 25 December 2012;

Draft Law No. 192666-6 “On the Prohibition of Low-alcohol and Soft Energy Drinks Production and Turnover in Russia” ]