Domestic alcohol-making enthusiasts in Svalbard may soon be able to raise their glass to Norway’s incumbent Food and Agriculture Minister without fear of prosecution.
In a move “largely designed to facilitate business development” in the archipelago, Minister Sylvi Listhaug has sent her proposal to hearing.
“Microbreweries have flourished in many parts of the country, something which has created many jobs,” she told Svalbardposten. “Beer has become culture, and you have every opportunity to create unique brands in Svalbard."
The current veto on manufacturing all types of alcohol could be brought to an end by 1st July this year. Moonshine brewing is not a currently unknown activity in Svalbard.
“The ban is a hangover from the past which has outlived its existence,” concluded Minister Listhaug.
Inhabitants in Svalbard must currently buy their quota of alcohol there and are not allowed to bring in alcohol from the mainland duty-free.
Sales of alcohol are regulated by a quota system which can only be employed once-a-month, the Governor of Svalbard states. Allowances are:
- Up to two bottles of spirits (or up to four bottles of fortified wine).
- A maximum of 0.5 bottles of fortified wine (alternatively one bottle every other month).
- Up to 24 cans or half bottles of beer containing not more than 4.75 per cent alcohol by volume. Nevertheless up to 24 cans of half bottles of beer can contain a maximum of 7 percent alcohol by volume from an annual allowance.
- Ordinary wines for what is deemed reasonable consumption.
As Svalbard is a tax and duty-exempt area, anyone taking alcohol to the mainland will have to pay customs duty – in keeping with any other arrival from abroad.
Regular duty-free allowances for alcohol, tobacco products, and goods to a total value of up to 6,000 kroner (about 990 US dollars/722 euros/ 595 pounds sterling at today’s ROE) apply if the person has been in Svalbard for at least 24 hours prior to departure.
“Individuals with a short-term stay in Svalbard are entitled to bring alcoholic beverages for reasonable consumption on entry,” the Governor also states.