Migros retail co-op to vote on proposal to lift alcohol sales ban

The ban, which applies to the Swiss co-op's stores, restuarants and take-aways, was introduced in 1928 as an anti-poverty measure

Members of Swiss retail co-op Migros are to vote in June on whether or not to lift its ban on alcohol sales.

The ban was introduced in 1928 by the co-op’s founder Gottlieb Duttweiler to promote public health and fight against “almighty alcohol capital”, and what he saw as “devastating liquor habits” contributing to poverty.

The co-op says: “In the last 100 years, the social situation and consumer habits in Switzerland have changed significantly. And so the question of alcohol has been discussed controversially again and again in the meantime. 

“The ban has been anchored in the statutes of the regional Migros co-operatives (with the exception of Geneva) since 1983. In order to change the statutes and enable customers to offer alcoholic beverages, the approval of two-thirds of the voting members of the respective regional Migros co-operative is required.”

The proposal has already been approved by the co-op’s regional committees and now its 2.27 million members will be asked on 4 June to vote on the future of the measure, which applies to more than 600 stores, restaurants and takeaways.

The regions where two-thirds of members vote to scrap the rule will then be able to sell alcohol. The group already permits drink sales at its subsidiaries Denner and migrolino, internet outlet leshop.ch, Migrol petrol stations and partner shops VOI.

Migros has launched a publicity campaign featuring two beer bottles marked “Oui” and “Non” to promote the vote – accompanied by a Migros beer, “a down-to-earth quality beer with the best ingredients from a Swiss brewery”. 

This beer will be introduced to stores – those in regions which vote to ditch the ban will stock the Oui version, which contains alcohol, and those where it is retained will stock the alcohol-free Non.

Members can register online at migros.ch/membership .

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