For members


How Switzerland’s Migros could start selling alcohol as early as July

Swiss shoppers may be allowed to buy alcohol in Migros for the first time in a century, with the supermarket to announce a final decision on the issue in mid-June.

The familiar orange sign of Swiss supermarket Migros

In November 2021, Swiss supermarket Migros decided to allow its 630 locations nationwide to sell alcohol for the first time in the supermarket’s history. 

However, whether the supermarkets will be allowed to actually sell beer, wine and booze will be up to the regional cooperatives which govern Migros outlets. 

This being Switzerland, where almost every form of change needs to take place via a vote, delegates have been casting their ballots on whether or not they will allow the sale of alcohol in their region. 

Regional cooperatives began a voting process on May 16th which will run until June 4th. Migros announced on Monday that the final decision of the ballot will be made public in mid-June. 

After the announcement, the changes will be put into place relatively quickly – with alcohol sales permitted from July 1st, if they are approved. 

READ MORE: Is Swiss supermarket Migros about to start selling alcohol and cigarettes?

“Migros will then probably provide information about the results in the Migros Magazine and online in mid-June 2022,” said Migros spokesman Marcel Schlatter.

“Where less than two-thirds are in favour of selling alcohol, everything stays the same. Where more than two-thirds of voters are in favour of selling alcohol, the amended statutes will come into force on July 1, 2022.”

Each regional cooperative must decide individually, by a two-thirds majority, whether the stores it governs will sell alcohol. 

This may lead to an outcome where one Migros will sell alcohol but another store in a neighbouring cooperative, will not. 

There are ten regional cooperatives in Switzerland. 

As The Local Switzerland revealed in a recent article, while Duttweiler did this under a special pledge of upholding public health “against excessive consumption of cheap brandy and fruit schnapps”, in reality his decision was motivated by self-interest as he saw a special opportunity as a result of the growing prohibition movement. 

EXPLAINED: The real reason Swiss supermarket Migros doesn’t sell alcohol

In fact, while it may seem like a seismic shift, the company has been selling alcohol through a variety of loopholes for decades. 

Migros subsidiaries Migrolino and Denner both sell alcohol and cigarettes, while Migros itself currently sells alcohol and tobacco via the internet under the Le Shop banner.

Tobacco on the other hand will remain forbidden, meaning you won’t see cigarettes on Migros shelves any time soon

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For members


Do Swiss cows really get airlifted down from the Alps after summer?

'Flying cows' is possibly one of the more curious myths people hear about Switzerland. But is there any truth to it?

Do Swiss cows really get airlifted down from the Alps after summer?

If you talk to foreigners and ask them a surprising thing about Switzerland, many will mention the “flying cows”, and pictures of the animals being taken by helicopter up and down the Swiss Alps are not difficult to find.

“The cows in Swiss are taken to the highlands by helicopters for grazing during summers and brought down back again by helicopters in the winters!” wrote one person in an English-speaking forum.

The pictures of airlifted cows can be found all over the Internet, adding fuel to the myth – but the images are not fake.

So, are cows airlifted in Switzerland once the summer is over?

Yes, cows really get a free helicopter ride up and down the Alps, but only when necessary.

Injured cows that cannot make the journey walking will not be left to die in the cold mountains during the winter season. Instead, they are taken down to the area where the rest of the herd will join them via helicopter ride.

Healthy cows going down the Alps are also a sight worth seeing. In the alpine regions, the yearly march of the cows from grazing in the Alps is called “Alpabzug” (something like “drive from the mountain pasture”).

In the French regions, the march is known as “Désalpes”.

Farmers and shepherds will wear traditional clothes and decorate their cows.

The event takes place in early autumn, usually late September or early October. It is determined by the lack of grass, or if any cold spells start, so it depends on the region and can vary year by year.

The Désalpes festival

The event becomes a party in Switzerland, and people meet up in their villages to see the cows on their journey from the Alps.

They share food (especially cheese) and wine, and there are musical presentations (such as an alpine choir), yodelling, and of course, the cow bells making it known that they are coming through.

The cows leading the procession are usually the best dairy cows and receive decorated headdresses. The event has become a significant tourist attraction in the Alpine regions.