There is liberalisation, and there is not.
As I have told you before, the Norwegian beer scene is currently in a pretty good shape. The micro breweries are doing well, the industrial breweries are more or less standing still, but they are still making serious money on their markups. The selection of imports available, at least in Oslo, is more than most drinkers are able to cope with. And beer imports by individuals are no longer illegal, just extremely expensive.
But there are certainly still areas where our puritan brand of Lutheran faith is shining through, however secular we claim to have become.
There is an endless debate on the maximum opening hours for bars and restaurants. It is a weird discussion. Most politicians are afraid of being labelled as too backwards. The ones in favour of closing the bars early are in desperate search of documentation from the police and others that their proposals are Good For You. I won’t go into the points about illegal night clubs, uncontrolled drinking at home and what have you.
But the debate about opening hours is not particularly Norwegian. What might be of more
amusement interest to my global readers is the recent ruling of the Market Council.
To quote their own web site, The Market Council is a kind of administrative “court of law”. It carries out supervision of the Marketing Control Act, as well as parts of the regulatory framework governing prohibitions against advertising in the Norwegian Tobacco and Alcohol Act, and the advertising regulations in the Act on Broadcasting.
The Market Council has upheld the view of the Health Directorate (yes, the ones with the Dead People Division) that Aass Brewery and the Norwegian Breweries’ Association have to remove from their web pages all photos of beer, all descriptions of products, all press releases and so forth. For the lawyers among you (Hi Alan!), you can run this ruling through your favorite online translator.
Danish media find this hilarious, quoting this as yet another piece of evidence that we are stalking mad. They are particularly pleased with the porn-like masks of some of the photos on the web site.
For the record – these regulations apply to those who brew or sell alcohol. They do not apply to private blogs. So I will, for the time being, continue to publish my beer porn.