Silly Ruskies

At least, that’s what I thought when I read this article. (I’ll wait for the ‘old news’ people to chill.)

However after giving it a little thought, having anything under 10% be a foodstuff would’ve made a lot of sense at one point. Russia is cold, clean water was once (and in many places of the world still is) difficult to get. People need food to live and by example, London was built on the backs of porters, who often briefly stopped for a hearty (though modestly alcoholic) beverage so they could continue working. Not so long as to be lunch but long enough to be filled up.

How would Russia be any different? You’d actually need more calories to stay warm and alcohol in small amounts isn’t a bad thing for cold weather. Wouldn’t it be smarter, from a policy standpoint, to not consider most beers-even strong ones-to be alcoholic, but foodstuffs instead? Food is traditionally taxed at a significantly lower rate, so providing food at a reasonable cost seems to be something that politicians would want to do, to keep a peaceful society.

On top of that, there are cultural considerations. Long known for being a culture of serious drinkers, I could see where Russians as a people just wouldn’t consider even very strong ales, which I personally would say is anything over 7% ABV, to be alcoholic. I don’t know the culture well enough to say that definitively but I can say that it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case.

Just something to chew on.

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2 thoughts on “Silly Ruskies”

  1. Interesting view, though Russia has such horrible problems with alcoholism that Medvedev’s motivation was precisely to make people think of beer as alcohol and not to have such a casual attitude towards its consumption. But when you can buy vodka from walk-up kiosks, your country probably will be pretty cavalier when it comes to intaking mass quantities of booze.

    Two historical points you may find interesting (or not), Germany in the 17th century considered beer to be a kind of liquid bread. We have the beer stein because German law at the time said that any food served in public houses had to be brought to the table covered, hence the lid on the stein. Thing 2 is that we now know that the workers who built the pyramids in Egypt were paid, in part, in beer.

    1. Oh sure–I tried to preface things with ‘once upon a time’; so back in the days when laws like this were being made up, there was a certain logic to it. Making people aware that beer contains alcohol might feel silly on the surface but, as you point out, in a country with such high alcoholism, is likely a necessity. Things have changed and it’s no longer required to have liquid lunches to make your way through a grueling day.
      /though it helps, sometimes

      I had no idea about the beer stein being covered for that reason; that’s pretty cool. That workers on the pyramids were paid with beer in part I might’ve been taught once-but certainly isn’t surprising to me now, given what I know about the availability of fresh water at the time.

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