Norway’s state health directorate wants to ban the sale of wine in large three-liter cartons, claiming they lead to higher alcohol consumption. Protests were loud and swift, with the government now likely to cork the authorities’ plans before they go much further.
They didn’t get very far last week, after public health director Linda Granlund first mentioned her carton concerns to state broadcaster NRK. “If you have an open three-liter carton in the cupboard, it’s a lot easier to take a glass of wine than if you need to open a bottle,” Granlund reasoned. She claimed it was worthwhile to look to Australia, where only one-liter cartons are sold.
Critics quickly argued that opening a bottle of wine can prompt drinkers to empty it. And what about all the new screw-caps on wine bottles, that make opening a bottle easier? Should they be banned too?
Editorial writers pounced on the health authorities’ latest personification of the nanny state in Norway, noting that the country already has highly restrictive alcohol policy in the form of state-controlled sales, punitively high taxes and other laws aimed at limiting consumption. Åse Michaelsen, the government minister in charge of public health issues, made it clear no ban on wine cartons would be imposed on her watch, effectively ending the debate at least for now.