State alcohol shop sues food chain over online wine offer

A government-sponsored report has suggested tighter controls of alcohol marketing, after it increased markedly in the last few years. Meanwhile, monopoly alcohol retailer Systembolaget has sued the food retail chain City Gross for announcing recently that online customers would be offered wine for purchase.

The report author Göran Lundahl wants the Consumer Ombudsman to be able to react quicker and it should be possible to fine companies that direct alcohol advertisements to young people. The report also suggests new rules for internet-based selling of alcohol.

"Today we lack rules for surveillance of internet sales of alcoholic beverages and hence there are no age controls in connection with delivery," said Göran Lundahl in a press statement.

In a separate statement, monopoly retailer Systembolaget says it is pressing charges against food retail chain City Gross, which announced recently it intends to start selling wine to customers who buy food from them over the internet.

"It is of utmost importance that the government and parliament clarifies who has the right to sell alcohol in Sweden and who hasn't," says Systembolaget CEO Magdalena Gerger.

Systembolaget will also press charges against Winefinder, the company that sells the wine CityGross is offering its customers.

Sweden has, for many decades, had very restrictive policies on alcohol import and sales. The import monopoly only ended when Sweden became a member of the EU in 1995. The state still has the monopoly on retail sales of alcohol.