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”If the monopoly disappears the range of wines on offer will decrease dramatically” – Monopoly to market economy, the Alberta example

>> Wednesday, March 02, 2005

An often heard argument to keep the monopoly is that if it disappears (in Sweden or in other monopoly markets) the range of wines on offer will decrease dramatically. We at BKWine find that hard to believe. Is the wine selection that poor in markets that have an open market: Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom…? If we look at our own local selection at the corner grocery store (Monoprix) it is quite decent (we don't live in Sweden but in France so we don't have a controlled monopoly market here). We can even find the odd bottle of Yquem or Petrus and it starts with wines for just a few euros.

It is interesting to look at an example in Canada. Most of Canada is a monopoly market (like Sweden, Norway and Finland). Some fifteen years ago, in the province of Alberta, they decided to change the monopoly to an open market. There were, of course, fears that the number of wines available would shrink. What happened was that the number of items grew from 5000 to 16,000. The regulators also stipulated that grocers were not allowed to sell wines in the same shop as food – so as to make the playing field more level with new and independent wine shops. This led to many new wine shops and new employment opportunities. All according to Wayne Henuset, one of the new independent merchants in Alberta, Canada, to whom we are grateful for the info.


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