Wednesday, 18 October 2017 | News today: 13

Wines of Macedonia association joins call to end ban on late evening alcohol sales

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The Wines of Macedonia association, which includes the main wineries and wine exporters, joined the initiative of the Macedonian Chamber of Commerce to abolish the ban on alcohol sales after 19h, or 21h during the summer months.

According to the association, the ban which has been in effect over the past nine years, damaged the wine industry which, the association adds, accounts for up to 20 percent of the Macedonian agriculture GDP and affects 30.000 farmers, 12.000 seasonal workers and 2.000 full time workers.

“Even though the Macedonian wine is a leading brand and the country describes itself as a leading wine destination, domestic consumption amounts to only 9 percent of our production. After the ban, consumption dropped by 10 percent, which affects the income of the wineries and their ability to purchase grapes from farmers”, said the Wines of Macedonia association.

The ban prevents retail sales after 21h during the summer months, and after 19h for the rest of the year. It was introduced to reduce youth drunkenness and traffic accidents. Sales at bars and restaurants are not affected by the ban.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Wines of Macedonia association now want the ban removed, and insist that the focus is put instead on preventing sales to minors, as well as to fighting black market sales of domestically produced wines and liquors.