Alcohol, Lithuania, Markets and Companies, Retail

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 25.05.2020, 16:47

Lithuanian stores start demanding ID from all alcohol buyers

BC, Vilnius, 02.09.2016.Print version
To buy alcoholic beverages in stores of Lithuania's largest retail chains, all buyers will have to produce identification documents specifying their age as of Friday, reports LETA/BNS.

The companies that proposed the scheme suggest they aim to prevent sales of alcohol to minors and raise public awareness. They say no buyer data would be collected, with buyers only requested to show their IDs to cashiers.


Critics say the step is aimed at diverting the society's anger at politicians who discuss the possibility of selling alcohol in specialized stores or sell alcohol at shorter hours.


The new scheme is envisaged in a memorandum, which the companies signed with Health Care Minister Juras Pozela in June.


Laurynas Vilimas, executive director at the Lithuanian Association of Trade Enterprises, told  that chains that signed the memorandum take at least 95% of the Lithuanian alcohol trade market in stores.


He expressed certitude that the ID requirement will help tackle the alcohol addiction problem in Lithuania and raise awareness of the public, particularly youth.


"Profits generated by alcohol is not a priority for us, and showing an ID to a cashier is a symbolic act of demonstrating that you are a conscious consumer," said Vilimas.


Some politicians and activists who suggest that alcoholic beverages should only be sold in specialized stores, at shorter hours or to older residents, see the latest scheme as a public relations campaign.


Aurelijus Veryga, president of the National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition who is running for parliament with the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union, maintains the step is targeted at giving businessmen "extra levers to put politicians under the obligation of negotiating with them."

The union's leader Ramunas Karbauskis was even stricter, saying the campaign was mocking the society. In his words, the political force will suggest a state monopoly in alcohol trade.


Antanas Matulus, a member of the parliamentary Health Affairs Committee, dismissed the idea as ambiguous. In his words, demanding an ID from individuals who are clearly not underage is "going a bit too far."

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