Swiss retail giant Migros to remain alcohol-free after vote

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Swiss retail giant Migros to remain alcohol-free after vote
The vote is in: Migros will remain booze-less. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The suspense is finally over: Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain Migros, which hasn't sold beer or win for 94 years, will remain alcohol free.


In a much-anticipated referendum of sorts, all 10 regional Migros cooperatives voted recently on whether the supermarket, as well as its restaurants and take-aways, should lift a 94-year-old ban on not selling alcoholic beverages.

The votes have been tallied and the results were announced on Thursday morning: it’s an overwhelming ‘nein’, ‘non’ or ‘no’ to booze sales.

The vote “impressively shows the great attachment of the population to Migros and its democratic values," Ursula Nold, President of the Administration of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (MGB), said in a press release.

“The result is not surprising because all the polls pointed to a clear ‘no’, she said, adding that "members of the cooperative made a clear decision that was unanimous across Switzerland".


Marianne Meyer, president of the MGB Delegates' Assembly, said that "the impetus to once again discuss the alcohol ban in came from among the delegates and not from management. Now our base of cooperative members has made an unequivocal decision. Something like this is only possible in the Migros community”.

Changing the current ban would have required a two-thirds majority, Nold said.

Why isn’t Migros selling alcohol?

Unlike its rival Coop, along with other chains like Aldi and Lidl, Migros has not sold any alcoholic beverages since 1928 — three years after Swiss businessman and politician Gottlieb Duttweiler founded the company.

He enacted the ban to protect public health and to fight against “the all-powerful alcohol sector”, according to Migros.

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

Twenty years later, in 1948, Duttweiler had asked the delegates to decide whether the ban should remain in place. At that point, 52.4 percent voted to maintain it.

The ban remains, but…

It may not be the “real thing”, but Migros will be launching in 2023 a non-alcoholic beer brand called "Non", the company announced.

And while there will be no booze of any kind on Migros’ shelves, its subsidiary, Denner, which is often located inside the same commercial centres, does sell alcohol.




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