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I keep telling you how much impact WW I had, even on countries not engaged in the war. This article gives a handy roundup of the restrictions placed on the sale of booze in various European countries.

Though it's worth pointing out that this was still early days. The rules got progressively tighter as the war proceeded.


A White Paper has been issued showing the steps taken in European countries to restrict the sale of intoxicating liquors since the outbreak of war.

Austria-Hungary: Sale limited to between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Sundays and holidays all liquor shops are closed.

Denmark : A more or less absolute prohibition of the sale of liquor to soldiers (and in some cases to civilians) has been issued in 16 police districts.

France; The sale of absinthe has been forbidden.

Germany : The sale of spirits has been forbidden to soldiers in the district of Berlin and province of Brandenburg. Local authorities are empowered to prohibit or restrict sale of spirits. The production of alcohol has been restricted.

Norway : The sale of spirits was forbidden until October 13. Now the sale is permitted four days a week. The police can prohibit the sale of wine or beer if the public interest makes it desirable. An extensive system of local veto was in force before war broke out.

Russia : The sale of all intoxicants is prohibited, except in first-class restaurants and hotels at meals.

Serbia: A decree was issued forbidding the proprietors of hotels and cafes to sell in any large quantity to soldiers or persons addicted to drink.

Sweden : Although the restrictions in force and the powers possessed by local authorities were deemed sufficient to meet the conditions, a Bill was passed giving extended powers to issue prohibitions " in times of distress and danger of war.

Switzerland : The sale of spirits made by the Government is suspended indefinitely. No licences are at present granted for the distillation of spirits.

No special measures have been taken in Bulgaria, Greece, Holland, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Rumania, and Spain."
Tamworth Herald - Saturday 10 July 1915, page 2.
A couple of points to note. First, that these rules almost all concern spirits. Presumably from fear of soldiers or essential workers getting paralytic and unable to do what they were supposed to.

Second, that these restrictions, with the exception of opening hours in Austria, look voluntary rather than forced. That is, these actions weren't necessary due to supply restrictions. Those come later. Especially with regard to brewing, which, using stuff that could be used to make bread, was likely to struggle to find raw materials in times of food shortages.

In the case of Scandinavian countries, none of whom were involved in the war, these rules smack of temperance opportunism. Using a time of crisis as an excuse to force through restrictions on alcohol. It's a typical tactic of those two-faced bastards.

This was just a taste of things to come, especially for the Central Powers.