Is the age-old Russian love affair with vodka on the rocks? In recent years, more and more Russians have ditched their national drink, preferring to sip craft beer and sample wine. Vodka remains a huge part of the country's culture, something that has had deadly consequences for its male population. According to the most recent World Health Organization data (2010), 30 percent of all male adults engaged in heavy episodic drinking in the past month. Excessive alcoholism among men has resulted in an average life expectancy of just 64 years of age, far behind the rest of Europe.
The following infographic used more recent WHO data to show how the situation is changing. After the collapse of the USSR, vodka consumption peaked in 1995 with per capita consumption of pure alcohol of spirits amounting to nearly 9 liters. That year, per capita consumption of beer and wine amounted to just 1.54 and 0.81 liters of pure alcohol. Fast forward to 2016 and to a vastly different picture.
That year, per capita consumption of spirits sunk to just 3.25 liters of pure alcohol. Meanwhile, levels of beer and wine consumption have been rising steadily with the former surpassing vodka in terms of pure alcohol consumed. Many factors have played a role in the shift away from vodka. Rising alcohol prices and attempts at introducing better regulation have certainly played a part in reducing drinking in general. Craft beer has also become increasingly popular as startup costs are low and establishments do not need a liquor license if they only sell beer. The cost of a pint of locally brewed beer is also relatively cheap, making it an attractive option for thirsty customers.
This chart shows liters of pure alcohol consumed per capita in Russia by beverage.
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