Most Icelanders Still Opposed To Alcohol In Shops - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Most Icelanders Still Opposed To Alcohol In Shops

Published February 1, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

The vast majority of Icelanders remain opposed to alcohol being sold in non-government shops, a new poll reveals.

The poll, conducted by Fréttablaðið, Vísir and Stöð 2, shows that some 62% of Icelanders are against alcohol being sold in private shops and grocery stores, while 38% were in favour. When all responses are taken into account, 35% said they supported the sale of beer and wine in food stores, while 56% were opposed, and 9% were undecided.

The results show a distinct change from the last time a poll was done on the subject, last November, when 47% of respondents were against the sale of alcohol in private shops, while 41% supported the idea, and 12% had no position on the matter.

Vilhjálmur Árnason, an MP for the Independence Party, has been trying repeatedly to legalise the private wholesale sale of alcohol. He has submitted a bill to that effect in the past, with his last attempt blocked by the Welfare Committee majority.

Currently, the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) controls all sales of alcohol. By law, it may only be sold wholesale in state-run alcohol shops. The “beer” offered for sale in grocery stores is actually very light beer, with an alcohol content of about 2%.

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