A week after the ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks exceeding 20% proof in the Czech Republic

The empty shelves in our local Kaufland supermarket © Ricky Yates

Whilst I have a couple of new posts in mind, one of which is already written but needs to be edited to take into account the advice of my best critic, aka Sybille, I thought that in the meantime, I would offer an update on my most recent post from one week ago – the current prohibition in the Czech Republic, of the sale of all alcoholic drinks exceeding 20% proof.

The photograph on the left is of some of the empty shelves in our local Kaufland supermarket following the implementation of the ban. In the middle of the shelves, is a notice on a yellow piece of paper, giving details of the banning order issued by the Czech Ministry of Health.

Whilst the reasoning behind this draconian measure is understandable, not least because the death toll from drinking spirits contaminated with methanol here in the Czech Republic, has risen to twenty three with nearly fifty others hospitalised, it is inevitably having major economic effects too. One particular casualty, as mentioned in response to a comment on my previous post, is our nearby whisky bar.

Prohibice/Prohibition © Ricky Yates

Whilst I don’t drink anything stronger than wine, Sybille is quite partial to an occasional single malt. So over the past year or so, a few months after the whisky bar opened, we have paid it a visit from time-to-time. Whilst Sybille has enjoyed her ‘wee dram’, I have quaffed a glass of their white wine. This past week, we have paid it a couple of visits to have a glass or two of wine, as a small way of showing our support for their business, as the ban is currently reducing turnover by 90%!

Last night when we visited, there were several Czechs there drinking either wine or cider, we suspect with similar motives to ours. But there was also a man sitting on his own at a table, who clearly wasn’t Czech, enjoying his glass of red wine and holding onto to the 75cl bottle he had purchased, in order to regularly refill his glass. “Where are you from?” we asked in English. The most surprising reply was, “Saudi Arabia” – he was a junior diplomat at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Prague on his first overseas assignment!

The corrupting influence of the West or sheer hypocrisy? I’ll leave you to decide!

But it is quite clear what the owners of the Whisky Bar think of the current situation. The photo is of their shop front window.

6 comments to A week after the ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks exceeding 20% proof in the Czech Republic

  • Prohibition is what most people call it. Actually, I have yet to hear it called by any other name from a person.
    I guess it’s just the Czech way of dealing with things.

  • BTW, may I ask why are comments closed on your older posts? There is a lot I would like to say as I read (so far, very randomly) through your archives, but I cannot… I only just discovered your blog today, but I enjoy it a lot, because it contains many things close to my heart. So I’m rather sorry that I cannot comment on many of them.

  • I guess most of your readers are not Czech Christian students of English whose godmother works at the ecumenical department of the ECCB headquarters, making her a collegue of your collegue Karen, whom they’ve actually met once. 😀
    And now you can place me. I don’t suppose Karen would remember me, but maybe, if you mention birthdays, she might… Imagine my surprise when I saw her in your posts! It’s a small world.

    Another of those countless things I wanted to say was that “Thine be the glory”, set to Handel’s music, is the quintessential Easter song for this Czech Christian girl.

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