Don't laugh: Lagers, ales, and pilsners were long considered "food" by the Russian government, but thanks to a new rule going into effect in 2013 (any minute now over there), it's going to be a lot tougher to find a brewski in the motherland. The story is a lot more complicated than laughing at the thought of "eating" beer (which does happen in some parts), and it has to do with beer's history of being treated like a soft drink rather than alcohol — until now.
"The limits are part of a government effort to reduce alcohol abuse in Russian, where one in five male deaths are linked to booze, according to world health experts," reports NBC News. More specifically, "The average Russian drinks the equivalent of 32 pints of pure alcohol per year and about 500,000 deaths annually are thought to be drink-related. That includes a large number of about 30,000 annual road accident deaths and of several thousand cases of drowning," reports The Telegraph. According to NBC, beer won't be available at "street kiosks, gas stations and bus depots like it has been" — at least not between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Then again, that's what bars are for.
What Russians still have is plenty of vodka, which accounts for almost 50 percent of alcohol sales, and those numbers could see a boost with the new beer rules going into effect. And, well, beer will still be a food during tonight's New Year's celebrations, when Russians are expected to drink 1.5 billion liters of alcohol, reports Russia's RT.com.