To understand alcohol laws, taxes and sales in America is almost impossible. Laws and regulations vary by State, and in Virginia we're taxed at the third highest rate in the country. Liquor can only be bought in State controlled liquor stores, not in grocery or convenience stores. In Pennsylvania, you can't even buy beer at your local market, and there's a limit on the number of packs you can purchase during a single visit. The strictest laws of the nation exist in this area. In the South, there are still several "dry" counties, where all alcohol is prohibited. All of this in the decadent, spirtualless West! :) During a Friday night visit to the liquor store, I came across these two bottles, sitting beside each other on the shelf. I wonder which is tastier? There are a lot of Russian vodkas for sale in U.S. liquor stores, but we tend to like flavored vodkas more than the plain stuff. In general, attitudes and laws toward alcohol vary greatly between our nations.
Virginia is proud of taxing all the alcoholics. All liquor stores in my area have this sign hanging at the entrance, showing the drunkards their great achievements and contribution to the State economy. The Governor has proposed yet another tax increase to fix holes in the budget. Until recently, all liquor stores were closed on Sundays, but now they operate from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Saturday and 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Meanwhile, I recently read that Putin decided to lower taxes on vodka. Why? A drunk, non-thinking population is much easier to control, manipulate and make happy during turbulent times, right? Or, is there another reason for this break in vodka prices? America can't escape the fact it's one of the fattest nations in the world, and Russia can't escape the reality that it's one of the drunkest.
I rarely drink, but it's always a ritual each time I'm in Russia to consume alcohol with my Russian friends. If I recall, liquor can be purchased everywhere in Russia - grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores...Is it true? I only remember that sales are cut off at a certain time, late in the evening. This is a vivid memory because we ran out of vodka at a party, stumbled to a local store and discovered that vodka sales were closed, and then purchased a bottle from some shady person in a car on the street. :) Do laws and regulations vary depending on the region of Russia?
What do you think? Should alcohol be so tightly controlled and taxed, or do you prefer less regulation? I prefer the latter. People must learn to be responsible, behave as adults, or pay the price for decadent and reckless behavior. Not only with alcohol, but in all aspects of life...