Year in review – Part II

Last week we ended our “year in review” tour with June, so we will now continue with the next six months, starting from July. The first wave of corona pandemic is slowly calming down, and our societies returned almost to normal. Closed businesses began to open again, and as it sometimes happens, newly found freedom brings some irrational behaviour. As our communities dealt with closings and removed different freedoms, various discussions took place to ensure that our free societies would remain open. Several interest groups also presented suggestions for liberalizing alcohol policies.

Sweden calls on Denmark to lower the alcohol limit
In 1990, the Swedes lowered the limit for how much alcohol you can have in your blood when driving a car, from 0.5 per mille to 0.2 per mille. Secretary-General of Sweden’s response to the Council for Safe Traffic, NTF, Marie Nordén told TV 2: “I would recommend Denmark to lower the limit. If you have a limit of 0.5 per mille, people may think it is okay to drink a beer or two and then drive. With this limit, we say you can not drive if you have been drinking.”

Calls to Danish politicians: Ban alcohol on young people under 18 years of age
Politicians are holding back when it comes to doing something about Danish alcohol culture, reports DR. This is the opinion of a number of organizations that are now coming up with a call for politicians. The purchase of all kinds of alcohol, and thus also beer, should be banned for young people under 18, and there are no scientific reasons to wait.

Sales at Vinmonopolet are skyrocketing, but Norwegians no longer drink
“Vinmonopolet’s sales have increased after the corona outbreak, about as expected considering that cross-border trade and tax-free on ferries and that airports have stopped almost entirely for a while,” said communications manager at Vinmonopolet, Jens Nordahl.
He said that there has also been a significant reduction in serving at restaurants, bars and cafes in recent months, NRK reported.
At the same time, according to a survey by Opinion, two out of ten answered that they drink less now than before the pandemic. Only one in ten respondents say they drink more than before.

Norway: Strong lobby pressure for beer at the petrol station
Virke Servicehandel, which represents kiosks and petrol stations, has tried to get politicians involved in a new opening: Beer sales at petrol stations. The Progress Party has been saying that it is entirely natural to allow beer sales at kiosks and petrol stations, Nettavisen reports.

Sweden: No increased alcohol consumption in the country during the corona pandemic
Systembolaget’s sales in the last six months have increased by almost 30 million litres compared to the previous year’s corresponding period. But despite Systembolaget’s increased sales, it should not be due to increased consumption in the country, Sverige Radio wrote.
The sales volume should not be about increased consumption among the population, but about reduced travel and fewer visits to restaurants according to Systembolaget’s CEO Magdalena Gerger.

Estonia has an alcohol problem: Alcohol deaths are on the rise
Statistics show that 509 people died of alcohol-related illnesses last year, a record for the previous ten years, Delfi wrote. These are mostly people of working age, aged 45-64. Last year, the number of people who had to be taken to a sobering house by the police also increased. There were 500 more of them than a year earlier, a total of 15,318. After Midsummer, the Rescue Board announced that more people have drowned in half a year than in the whole last year. By July 7 of this year, 36 had drowned and, according to preliminary data, 22 of them were drunk, more than half.

Conclusion of the Lithuanian study on alcohol consumption: it is necessary to reduce excise duties
The fact that alcohol taxes will come under pressure every time there is a reason to worry about the economy’s health became clear by Vilnius University’s study. It was tentatively recommended to reduce excise duty on beer by 16%, excise duty on wine by 54%, excise duty on strong alcohol by more than 33% and bring it closer to the level of Polish excise duty, according to a study by Vilnius University researchers on alcohol consumption in Lithuania, reported Verslo žinios.

Read further and find next months from NordAN´s Nordic Alcohol Policy Report