Long queues formed outside Iceland’s state-run wine stores on Friday because of rumors that the price of alcohol would increase by up to 25 percent on Saturday. Prices did increase, however only by roughly five percent.
“We were busier today than during the average New Year’s. People hear about an increase of 25 percent and rush off to start stockpiling,” Einar Jónatansson, manager of the ÁTVR Vínbúd store in Austurstraeti in downtown Reykjavík, told Fréttabladid at the end of his workday on Friday.
In some places customers had to be let into the Vínbúd stores in groups to cope with the traffic.
The price of alcohol increased by 5.25 percent on Saturday and the price of tobacco by 8.87 percent because of the depreciation of the Icelandic króna, which causes a general increase in the price of imported products.
“I don’t think the increase was as high as people had expected,” said Sigrún Ósk Sigurdardóttir, assistant-director of the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR).
Sigurdardóttir explained that the depreciation of the króna is not as big a part of the price of alcohol as of other products. “A large part of the retail price is comprised of taxes and an alcohol tariff, which is a permanent amount in relation to the percentage of alcohol and is not subject to change. ÁTVR’s markup price also remains unchanged.”