Iceland Mag

4 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Growing opposition to allowing sale of alcoholic in grocery stores

By Staff

  • ÁTVR the state liqour store monopoly An overwhelming majority of Icelanders oppose the sale of hard liqour in grocery stores. Photo/Stefán Karlsson.

According to a new poll there is a growing opposition among Icelanders to ideas to sell alcohol in grocery stores the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports. A poll conducted by polling firm Maskína showed that 52% of Icelanders were opposed to the sale of any alcoholic beverages in grocery stores and only 35% in support.

A similar poll taken a little more than a year ago, in late 2014, found 45% were opposed and 39% in support. Opposition to the sale of hard liquor in grocery stores is even greater. An overwhelming majority, or 71% of Icelanders are opposed to allowing the sale of spirits in grocery stores.

Read more: Beware: The “Pilsner” at grocery stores is not beer!

Currently all alcoholic drinks (defined as containing more than 2.5% alcohol by volume) are sold in the state alcohol monopoly stores ÁTVR. A bill has been introduced in parliament which would abolish this monopoly, opening the door to the sale of alcohol in grocery stores. According to the bill beer and wine could be sold with other merchandize, while spirits would have to be kept behind a counter or sold in separate, closed off sections of the stores. It is not clear from the bill whether specialized liquor stores could be established.

Read more: Scottish whiskey producers criticize plans to allow Icelandic grocery stores to sell beer and wine

These provisions have drawn fire from industry, including the Scottish Whiskey council which has protested the bill. Icelandic microbreweries are also opposed to the bill, as they fear a change in the distribution of alcohol would favour large producers.

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