A group of MPs have proposed abolishing the current ban on home brewing of alcohol, RÚV reports.
Home brewing is currently illegal in Iceland, but a bill proposing its legalisation has been reintroduced in parliament. Backed by 10 MPs from the Pirate Party, Independence Party, Social Democratic Alliance, and the Reform Party, the bill proposes legalising home brewing for personal consumption.
“Alcohol consumption is a deep-rooted part of Icelandic culture,” the bill’s introduction reads. “It’s production, sale and consumption have long been subject to severe restrictions due to the harmful effects of alcohol consumption on both consumers and society as a whole.”
The Directorate of Health expressed opposition to the bill, stating that it is in fact alcohol abuse which is a deep-rooted part of Icelandic culture. The Directorate claims limited access plays a crucial role in reducing the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. It also points out that all measures aimed at increasing the total consumption of alcohol are contrary to government policies on alcohol and drug abuse.
Ívar J. Arndal, CEO of the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland, released a statement on the bill last week. In the statement, Ívar urged the government to consider public health and social responsibility in reviewing the bill, but did not express direct opposition. He added that the bill has not made a distinction between the home brewing of beer and wine and stronger liquor, which is contrary to similar legislation in most countries in the region, such as England and Denmark.