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Archive for August 27th, 2009

I have, on occasion, written about the need to liberalize the Norwegian licencing laws, allowing small scale producers to sell a bottle or two of their own produce, be it fruit wine, cider or beer. So far the liberal party, Venstre, is the only one with the issue visibly on the agenda.

There is a similar discussion in Sweden, where the matter has been raised by several members of parliament. In addition to beer and fruit wine, the southernmost and sunniest parts of Sweden have farms who have established wineyards. There have been several proposals for these farms to be able to sell some of their produce directly to consumers.

Peter J. Olsson, editorial writer for Malmö daily Kvällsposten, supports these changes and is disappointed that this is not included in a new draft alcohol law. He indicates that disagreements within the ruling non-socialist coalision government might be the reason, with the Christan Democrats being the most sceptical.

Two spokesmen for the temperance movement IOGT-NTo have a comment in the newspaper, worrying that a more liberal legislation would mean the end of Systembolaget, the government monopoly stores.

Olsson replies that alcohol is readily available in Sweden already, and allowing a few hundred farms to sell their produce will not mean any challenge to public health whatsoever. People with drinking problems will not get their fix from wine produced in Sweden. He also points out that the experiences from Finland after they established a more liberal legislation have been very positive.

A footnote: Without twitter, this would have slipped under my radar! Peter is @pjolsson.

Italian farm brews

Italian farm brews

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