"Our great cultural tradition is under threat"by John McTernan / September 9, 2016 / Leave a comment
Denmark—like other Northern European countries—has high excise duties on alcohol in an attempt to reduce heavy drinking and alcohol abuse. There are good public policy reasons for this—the dangers of foetal alcohol syndrome, the health costs to individuals of alcohol and the social and economic costs in terms of alcohol-related crime. The problem is that the Danish taxes were lower than in Sweden. As a consequence, Swedes poured into Copenhagen over the Öresund Bridge to take advantage of the lower prices. A kind of hedonic arbitrage.
This is something Brits are well aware of too. While the taxes on our booze are not as high as in Scandinavian nations—despite the best efforts of the SNP Scottish Government to impose a minimum price on alcohol—they are still far higher than in our near neighbour France. Hence our love of the “booze cruise.” This has gone through many mutations—surviving even the abolition of duty-free for those travelling with the European Union. The secret to its endurance is the strength of its appeal—it is cheaper to get guttered in France than in Britain.