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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Brewers Lobby for End to Beer Ad Ban

bloombergBrewers say allowing ads at stadiums could help Sochi's bid for the Olympic Games, which rely heavily on beer ads.
Russian brewers urged lawmakers to lift a ban on beer advertisement at sporting arenas as the country bids for the 2014 Winter Olympics and they seek to return to stadiums as sponsors.

The Russian Brewers' Union, which unites such producers as Baltika Breweries and InBev, agreed at an April 6 meeting to ask the parliament for permission to support sporting events by overturning amendments passed to the law on advertising that banned commercials at stadiums from 2004, said union spokesman Vladimir Kuznetsov.

"In civilized countries the government not only doesn't ban, but encourages sponsorship of events by beer companies," Kuznetsov said Monday by telephone from Moscow. He did not specify which countries he meant.

The government's efforts to bring the Olympics to the Black Sea resort of Sochi could help the union's proposal, Kuznetsov said. Anheuser-Busch, the world's second-largest brewer after InBev, is a sponsor of the International Olympics Committee and will not be able to advertise in Russia should the country host the games without overturning the amendments, he said.

The legal changes were introduced to fight alcoholism in a country where the average male life expectancy is 59. Beer commercials not only disappeared from sporting arenas, they were also prohibited from being shown on television from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and were not allowed to feature people or animals.

St. Petersburg-based Baltika, the country's biggest brewer, was a general partner of the Russian soccer championship from 2003 to 2005. It also sponsored an international hockey tournament.