Retailers Preparing To Sell Alcohol In Stores - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Retailers Preparing To Sell Alcohol In Stores

Published January 13, 2016

Photo by
Art Bicnick

While the private sale of alcohol is not yet legal in Iceland, some of the country’s largest retailers are already preparing for legislative changes.

RÚV reports that the company Hagar, which owns the grocery stores Hagkaup and Bónus, are currently undergoing preparations to begin including alcohol on their shelves. The State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) confirmed that the finer points on an agreement are being examined.

“We’ve been looking into this for a few years now,” Hagar director Finnur Árnason told reporters. When asked if a pending bill that would permit the sale of alcohol in retail stores has influenced the decision, Finnur replied, “I think we are better prepared with this in the works, yes.”

The bill in question, which is the brainchild of Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason, has not been passed into law, and is still awaiting the second round of parliamentary discussions.

Currently, only stores operated by ÁTVR may sell alcohol in retail format. Not everybody is on board with the idea of alcohol on the shelves of private stores, either – the Doctors’ Society of Iceland is against the idea, as are 47% of Icelanders, according to the most recent Gallup poll on the matter.

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