Iceland Mag

7 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Minister of finance hopes to save all that Christmas beer from being poured down the drain

By Staff

  • Will not stand for good beer going to waste The minister of finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, argues rules which lead to the destruction of large quantities of seasonal beer make no sense, especially when we are worrying about wasting food. Photo/GVA.

The Icelandic minister of finance argues that rules which lead to seasonal beer to being destroyed after the holidays are an example of excessive micro-management of society and an unconscionable waste of food. The local news site visir.is reports that in a parliamentary debate yesterday the minister argued it was time to look into changing these rules.

Read more: 2015 a record year for Christmas beer: Still nearly 100,000 bottles will to be poured down the drain

Seasonal beer, like Christmas beer, Easter beer, Midwinter Þorri beer and Summer beer, are only kept on the shelves of the state alcohol retail monopoly for a limited time, after which the beer is removed from the shelves and shipped back to manufacturers. After the beer is shipped back it is usually destroyed as retailers have little if any way of selling the beer once it has been removed from retail. The beer therefore ends up being destroyed as this allows the producers to recover the alcohol tax which they pay once the beer is shipped. Every year large quantities of seasonal beer are destroyed as a consequence.

Senseless waste of food
The debate was initiated by a representative for the centrist Bright future which wanted to know if anything could be done to stop what she argued was senseless waste of food. “Of course we should reconsider these rules,” Bjarni Benediktsson, the minister of finance told Parliament, adding that these rules led to considerable waste. “Of course it is extremely wasteful to pour down a product which is in perfectly good condition just because there is some conflict with the calendar.”

Bjarni added that food waste was a serious problem globally, and that pouring down perfectly good beer meant large quantities of barley and grain were being wasted. “And perhaps this is another example of how far we have been willing to go in micro-managing society.”

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