Russia Beer Carlsberg
A bartender holds a glass of Carlsberg beer in a bar in St. Petersburg.Reuters

Russia will relax a ban on beer advertising until after the 2018 World Cup, boosting brewers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Moscow banned advertising alcoholic drinks across the media in 2012, in a bid to deal with the nationwide drink problem.

AB InBev, whose Budweiser brand is the official beer of the tournament, is expected to be the biggest winner from the decision.

The change to the advertising law will only allow beer ads on television in a sporting context, while print media advertising will not be restricted.

The move will "attract additional sponsorship revenue to support the organisation, staging and development of sports events in Russia," Russia's Federation Council said on Wednesday.

Russia is expected to spend in the region of $20bn (£11.6bn, €14.6bn) overall on hosting the World Cup and the marketing spend from beer companies could help Moscow recoup some of the spending.

It is not known how much revenue has been raised by alcohol advertising at this year's World Cup in Brazil, but AB InBev said it boosted its marketing spending between $600m and $1bn this year.

Russia, which only classified beer as an alcoholic beverage in 2012, has sought to rein in consumption of the drink in recent years which soared in popularity throughout the 2000s.

Alcohol consumption in Russia is double the critical level set by the World Health Organisation.