There has been some speculation, throughout the years, that drinking booze can lead to intoxication, or even alcoholism. Because of this, Russia has finally decided to officially declare beer an alcoholic beverage as a means of keeping their citizens from turning into full-blown boozehounds. Like us Americans. I mean they didn't say it was because of us, but it's a good bet.

Unlike the United States, Russia previously categorized beer and other beverages containing less than 10 percent alcohol as food items, making things like beer just as common of a morning beverage as coffee.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed off on the new, stricter restrictions which took effect on the first of this year, banning the sale of beer in bus stops, train stations and gas stations. The law also prohibits the sale of alcohol between the hours of 11pm and 8am.

According to reports, the average Russian drinks approximately 4 gallons of pure alcohol every year, and the country has nearly 500,000 alcohol-related deaths per year, including 30,000 drunk driving accidents and thousands of drownings. That’s nearly 400,000 more booze-related deaths than the United States, so the reforms, while a bummer, seem to be warranted.

Critics of the new regulations say that “national calamity” or not, the Russian people are going to drink. “It's much easier to buy two bottles of vodka and manage your instant need for alcohol,” says Isaac Sheps, chairman of the Union of Russian Brewers. "So it's quite ironic that this attempt to improve health and lower alcoholism could have the opposite effect and cause people to drink more harmful spirits.”

You lost us -- beer trumps vodka any day of the week, even if we can't buy it at the bus stop.

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