Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Swedish Alcohol Restrictions Lose Again at the EU
It took a week for the news to reach Vice Squad, but once again, the Swedish prohibition on personal imports of alcohol ordered over the internet and received via the mail has been found to violate the free trade provisions of the EU. The European Court of Justice decision was a near-replay of a similar case from June, so the result was not surprising. The CEO of Sweden's state retail monopoly claims not to be worried, because internet sales currently are tiny (whereas personally bringing alcohol from abroad is a major alcohol source in Sweden). But now that mail-order alcohol deliveries to homes can no longer be confiscated -- assuming that the high Swedish excise taxes are remitted -- I wouldn't be surprised to see increased popularity for that channel of alcohol distribution.
In an unrelated but unusually upbeat alcohol story, a man was restored to health in Australia a couple months ago, it has just been reported, in part by feeding him vodka via a nasal drip at a rate of 3 drinks per hour. Alcohol was needed to combat a poison, and the hospital ran out of pharmaceutical ethanol, so staff members bought a case of vodka. Finally, a small upside to the suppression of the Russian press -- if this story got out in Russia, there's no telling the mischief that could result.