Farm sales of alcohol pose a risk to SystembolagetApril 11, 2022
The introduction of farm sales would mark a major shift in Swedish alcohol policy. In addition to leading to increased alcohol consumption, the proposal to introduce farm sales of alcohol would directly jeopardise Systembolaget’s monopoly, according to IOGT-NTO.
IOGT-NTO has therefore said no to the introduction of farm sales in its consultation response to the government.
The proposal on farm sales would mean that Systembolaget would no longer have the exclusive right to retail beer, wine and spirits and other fermented alcoholic beverages. This would mean the end of Systembolaget’s monopoly, which in turn would open the door to private profit interests in alcohol sales.
Restricting the availability of alcohol through monopolies is one of the most powerful tools to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol. Ending the monopoly would lead to a significant deterioration in public health, with increased costs for both individuals and society as a whole.
IOGT-NTO does not see that Sweden can give preference to only Swedish producers to practice farm sales. Such discrimination against foreign products would be contrary to EU rules on the free movement of goods and would therefore be rejected by the European Court of Justice.
IOGT-NTO also does not see that it would be possible to reverse it after the proposed six-year trial period. Farm sales represent a clear change of direction in Swedish alcohol policy as private profit interests would no longer be excluded from the retail sector. This change of course cannot credibly be undone, as EU law requires that Swedish alcohol policy needs to be systematically justified on the basis of public interest, such as public health.
For this reason, IOGT-NTO says no to the proposal for farm sales of alcohol.