Saeima refines «large bottle» law

The Latvian parliament on Thursday upheld a legislative proposal essentially banning retail sale of any alcoholic drinks in containers larger than one liter, reported LETA.

The bill is yet to be discussed by the parliament in the third and final reading.

According to the current proposal, beer with more than 5.8% of alcohol by volume will have to be sold only in containers holding up to 0.5 liters. The maximum volume of containers for sale of alcoholic drinks containing less than 5.8% of alcohol by volume will be one liter.

In the first reading lawmakers agreed on a compromise to avoid total ban on sale of strong beer in 2-liter PET bottles. It was planned to permit retail sale of alcoholic drinks containing less than 5.8% of alcohol by volume in containers larger than one liter.

Beer producers were willing to accept this compromise but some lawmakers insisted that the 2-liter beer bottles should be banned altogether. However, they could not agree whether the permitted volume for retail sale of alcoholic drinks should be set as 0.5 liters or one liter.

Alcohol and specifically beer sold in large-volume plastic bottles is seen as a cheap way to get drunk and is often abused by alcoholics and teenagers in Latvia.

It is planned that the proposed amendments to the law on distribution of alcoholic drinks will take effect on September 1, 2017.

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