Russia has officially recognized beer as an alcohol after President Dmitry Medvedev signed a bill that will make the drink subject to sales restriction.

The new legislation would categorize anything with an alcohol content higher than 0.5% as an alcohol.

This is a change from prior legislation, which said that anything with an alcohol content less than 10% was considered a "foodstuff."

"Normalising the beer production market and classifying it as alcohol is

totally the right thing to do and will boost the health of our

population," said Yevgeny Bryun, the ministry of health's chief

specialist on alcohol and drug abuse

This is not the first time the government has tried to curb alcohol consumption in Russia, a country that has two times the critical level of alcoholism set by the World

Health Organisation.

Last year, government officials increased the tax on beer by 200 per cent in an attempt to slow down consumption, which has increased 40 per cent over the past ten years.

Once the laws come into effect in 2013, stores will not be allowed to sell alcohol between 11 pm and 8 am. Advertising will also be reduced, with alcohol ads on radio and television banned.

The bill would also set the maximum size of cans and bottles to 0.33 litres, and will ban beer from being sold in public places or areas near schools.