Beer in Russia
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In Russia, beer (Russian: пиво pivo) is the second most popular alcoholic drink after vodka, seen by many as a healthier alternative. The average Russian drank about 12.5 liters of alcohol in 2010, with vodka accounting for more than five liters and beer about four liters.
Russians categorize beer by color rather than fermentation process: Light, Red or Semi-Dark and Dark. Light is more or less equivalent to Lager and the last two are close to Ales. There are also strong beers (6-10% alcohol).
Until 2011, there were no regulations on beer in Russia. Previously, the government declared any beverage with less than 10% alcohol content to be a foodstuff. Therefore, it was sold all hours of the day and consumed heavily in public. The beverage is now regulated in an effort to curtail heavy drinking.
In 2011, there were 561 beer producers operating in Russia. Among them are 40 large producers including Baltika and Stary Melnik, 76 medium scale regional breweries, 263 mini/microbreweries and 182 restaurant breweries.
Beer production in Russia reduced by 5.1% in 2010, to 102.93 mln hl.  However, in money terms, the Russian beer market grew by 16% to 598 bln. roubles (or 22% to $19.9 bln).
In 2010, the five leading companies' beer sales by volume reduced by 5% to 83.6 mln hl. Other breweries saw their sales increase by 14%, up to approximately 22 mln hl. The total volume of beer imports in 2010 was about 3.07 mln hl.
Breweries and beers
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