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ICELAND: Microbreweries protest proposed abolishment of the state monopoly liquor stores

Members from four parties in parliament have submitted a bill to abolish the current state monopoly on the retail distribution of alcoholic beverages. Doctors and public health officials have protested the change, arguing that foreign studies show that the consumption of alcohol could increase by as much as 40% when it is introduced in grocery stores.

Domestic microbreweries have also come out in opposition to the bill, as they argue that abolishing the state monopoly stores Vínbúðin, would only benefit larger breweries, while hurting small producers.

The owner and brewmaster of Segull 67, a small microbrewery in the town of Siglufjörður in North Iceland, told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that the current arrangement is ideal for small producers: “I used to advocate for the abolishment of the state monopoly, but now, when I am actually running my own little brewery, I am more keenly aware of the uncertainty and problems that would cause.”

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