sparkling wine

Ending state monopoly liquor stores on the table (again) in Iceland


There has been much debate in Iceland of about a proposed legislation that abolishes the state monopoly of alcohol in in Iceland. As it is a person can only buy their liquor in the state run Vinbudin but if the legislation goes through, alcohol will be sold in grocery stores.

Members from four parties in parliament have submitted a bill to abolish the current state monopoly on the retail distribution of alcoholic beverages. Drinks containing more than 2.25% alcohol by volume can now only be sold in retail at Vinbudin stores.

Such bills have been suggested a few times since the 1990s according to Visir’s report but never made it trough. This bill has been submitted to parliament three times and this time around it’s again met with broad and firm resistance, mostly revolving around public health issues and the problem of alcoholism and youth’s access to alcohol.

Domestic microbreweries, which have sprung up in Iceland in recent years, have also voiced opposition to the bill. They maintain that eliminating the Vinbudin stores would likely hurt the small producers. As it is now, they only have to deal with one large retailer to distribute their product while the situation would become considerably more complex and demand extra resources for them if they had to deal with many smaller retailers.