Previously, an IOGT-NTO report exposed the multinational giants behind the push for “farm sales” or “yard sales” (Swedish: Gårdsförsäljning) of alcohol in Sweden. When the lobbying push for “farm sales” first was launched it sounded like the proposal was about a few local, rural vineyards in Sweden. But the lobbying proposal was exposed as a scam that is about promoting the profit interests of the world’s largest alcohol corporations instead of small local wine makers. In other words, “farm sales” is the alcohol industry’s trojan horse to deregulate alcohol sales in Sweden and overthrow Systembolaget in pursuit of corporate profit maximization.
Two previous state inquiries have already shown that if “farm sales” of alcohol were introduced, Systembolaget’s exclusive rights to sell alcohol in Sweden would disappear.
The current inquiry is conducted by an industry-heavy panel. There are many organizations with a profit interest in “farm sales” included in the panel. Visita (industry organization for the hospitality industry), the Swedish Farmers’ Association, as well as beer producers and wine producers are all represented. The inquiry panel also includes an expert in EU law, a representative each from the Swedish Competition Authority, Systembolaget, the Central Association for Alcohol and Drug Information, and the Swedish Public Health Agency. Including the investigator Elisabeth Nilsson, the group consists of 15 people.
IOGT-NTO’s representation is specifically important to provide the much needed public health perspective of “farm sales” to this panel.
It becomes very important to defend the public health perspective when the expert group is so industry-heavy,” said Irma Kilim, head of drug policy at IOGT-NTO, as per Accent.Irma Kilim, head of drug policy, IOGT-NTO
According to the government directive the special investigator must investigate “farm sales” on several grounds:
- A prerequisite for the assignment is that Systembolaget’s monopoly is secured.
- Make an EU legal analysis of whether and, if so, propose how “farm sales” can be introduced throughout the country.
- Assess whether it is possible under EU law and whether there is a need to limit farm sales.
- Assess whether the sale needs to be linked to a production site or a cultivation site and whether it is necessary to also allow sales via the internet, or in another way for home delivery.
- Submit proposals for forms of supervision, opening hours and pricing model.
- Analyze the possible commercial effects that can be expected for business, rural areas, small businesses and employment if farm sales were to be introduced.
- Analyze the possible public health consequences of introduction of farm sales of alcoholic beverages.
- Submit necessary constitutional proposals.
The investigation must be completed by December 7, 2021.