If you want to supply to Vinmonopolet, you must either be a wholesaler registered with the Directorate of Customs and Excise as liable for excise duty, or have a licence to produce alcoholic beverages.
How does The Monopoly work?
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs makes a plan for the number retail outlets that the monopoly can open each year in each of the 19 counties of the country. They also propose the best locations, however, they leave the final decisions to the board of the monopoly. Each store offers a satisfactory range of products. The largest stores stock at least 1,500 different products, while the smallest stores offer the most popular items. In total 14 000 different alcoholic beverages are available.
The monopoly has two special shops, one in Oslo and one in Bergen in addition to 4 stores with special rooms for high end wines; CC-Vest in Oslo, Hamar, Kvadrat in Sandnes and Sandefjord. They offer an additional selection of about 750 products that are either innovative, of limited availability, or of exceptionally high quality. They cater to customers with a particular interest in wine, members of wine clubs, and clients who either have or are planning to establish their own wine cellar. They host product launches on the first Thursday of every month (except July).
Importing wine, spirits or beer containing over 4.75 per cent alcohol by volume to Norway
In order to import alcoholic beverages into Norway, you must be a wholesaler registered with the Directorate of Customs and Excise as liable for excise duty. Enquire at your regional customs office for information about registration. Further information can be found at www.toll.no.
Producing beer containing over 4.75 per cent alcohol by volume, wine or spirit in Norway
If you wish to start producing alcoholic beverages, you must have a government production licence. The agency responsible for granting and supervising government production licences is the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
Useful information about requirements and application forms are available at www.helsedirektoratet.no. Once it has been determined whether the individual applicant satisfies the necessary legal requirements, the application for a production licence can be processed.
Applying for a wholesale agreement with Vinmonopolet
You can apply for a wholesale agreement with Vinmonopolet once you have been approved by the Directorate of Customs and Excise as a registered import/wholesale enterprise, or once you have obtained a production licence.
Vinmonopolet checks all applications against the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s licence register before approving them.
By applying for a wholesale agreement with Vinmonopolet, the wholesaler accepts the current purchasing terms and conditions, delivery schedules and ethical guidelines.
By confirming the above, the wholesaler accepts the terms for entering into an agreement with AS Vinmonopolet. This agreement becomes legally binding once AS Vinmonopolet approves the application.
If the wholesaler chooses to contract a distributor to perform one or more of his responsibilities pursuant to this agreement, the wholesaler remains fully responsible for the fulfilment of his obligations, in the same way as if he had performed them himself.
A wholesaler has a duty to supply all of Vinmonopolet’s shops, as well as the online shop’s warehouse. The vast majority of deliveries to Vinmonopolet are performed by four distributors, who together account for over 99 per cent of deliveries to shops by volume. Wholesalers who make use of a distributor sign a separate sub-contract with the distributor. Wholesalers can also fulfil their own deliveries. All deliveries follow a fixed delivery schedule.
A distributor can also carry out other tasks on behalf of a wholesaler, such as electronic data exchange, invoicing, etc.
Vinmonopolet’s purchasing procedures and product range
The market and product plans, which are presented twice a year, give information about the wine requested in the monopoly’s next call for tenders. The plans explain the types and origins of wine that will be emphasized and they add the product winners that are promoted to the basic and single lot lists. Description of the tender details, establishment of a deadline for delivery of test products, declaration of admission, communication of delivery timing and wine attributes information, final delivery dates for products, and confirmations of the availability of the product in storehouses are requested. Podium Wines will always send out the tenders for the producers!
The monopoly divides the wines into five lists: basic, single lot, order, additional, and test. The wines in the basic list are available in many outlets but the list is not common to all outlets. These wines have won a monopoly call for tenders or have been promoted from another list because of high sales. In order to stay in the basic list, the wines must meet a required sales level, which varies within the different price groups of wines. If the sales of a wine included on the basic list decrease, the wine may disappear from this list.
The single lot list includes products purchased in limited quantities and are available only by customers’ order. Many products from this list are promoted to the basic list, having achieved satisfactory sales levels during the year. The basic and the single lot lists are constantly updated with new products, and a new catalogue is published every second month.
Wines included in the order list but unavailable in a store’s assortments, will be delivered within one week to the customer. The additional list is based on local demand, and consequently changes from shop to shop. Finally, the test list was created to guarantee market access for foreign producers. Each wholesaler and importer is allowed to have one product per producer within each group of wine included in the list. If a wine in the test list reaches the required sales within the first six months, it will automatically be promoted to the basic list and the agent may include a new wine in the test list. If the wine does not reach the required sales level, the unsold wine is returned to the agent.
The five lists allow the monopoly to offer a good assortment that varies across different retail stores while local demands also are served. Even though the availability of wine is different in different outlets, the prices remain constant.
The test range
The test range is an independent product range that aims to provide market access for products even if Vinmonopolet has not chosen to purchase the product. Each year, Vinmonopolet decides how many products it will launch in its test range, and wholesalers must express their interest by the specified deadlines. Vinmonopolet allocates product launches and launch dates between the wholesalers who have expressed their interest. At the end of the six-month test period (introductory month + five months), Vinmonopolet reserves the right to return unsold stock at the expense and risk of the wholesaler if they have not mananged the cut.
The products in the test range are being measures in category 6.
New product launches
Vinmonopolet launches new products six times a year – in January, March, May, July, September and November. Each launch has a special emphasis on products from a particular country, area or style. The aim is to strengthen Vinmonopolet’s position as specialist retailer, as well as giving customers lots of different and exciting products to choose from.
How long can a product remain on sale?
Vinmonopolet uses a ranking system based on the number of litres sold to decide which products it may want to retain in its basic range after the initial guaranteed period. The ranking system is based on product groups, which are in turn subdivided into price segments. For each price segment, Vinmonopolet decides the number of products that it ideally wants to stock. Rankings are updated every month based on sales over the past six months, with products being discontinued every two months based on those rankings. Products in the additional range are not covered by the ranking system. For a product to remain in the Vinmonopolet range, at least one sale must have been registered.
Vinmonopolet’s shops are split into six categories, based on their anticipated sales over the coming year. Each shop has a range that consists of three elements: a fixed basic range that is chosen centrally, an optional basic range and a local range chosen by the individual shop in response to local demand. The local selection can include products from all of the product ranges.
Prices are stated in NOK DDP (Delivery Duty Paid). This means that the individual wholesaler is liable for all of the risks and costs associated with transporting the products to the designated place at the individual shop’s warehouse, including customs clearance, excise duties, taxes, VAT and any other charges. Vinmonopolet is completely transparent in how it calculates mark-ups and retail prices. Vinmonopolet’s calculation is based on the principle that each product should cover its own costs, as well as giving Vinmonopolet a reasonable profit. As of January 2011, the mark-up applied by Vinmonopolet is a fixed rate of NOK 7.80 per litre, plus 22 percent of the purchase price excluding taxes and duties. The percentage mark-up gradually falls for products whose purchase price excluding taxes and duties is over NOK 80, and the total mark-up is never more than NOK 90 per unit.