The Swiss Alcohol Board (SAB) is the oldest institution in the Confederation. It has been dedicated to alcohol policy since 1887 and has been entrusted with the practical implementation of alcohol legislation. All spirits and high-grade alcohol (ethanol) come within the scope of this legislation. The SAB fulfils tasks in the area of federal monopolies on the production of spirits and the production and importation of ethanol. Together with its partners, it ensures compliance with the advertising and trade regulations applicable to spirits.
Spirits: production, trading and taxation
The SAB is responsible for the taxation of products which come under the Alcohol Act. These range from spirits, sweet wines, vermouth and alcopops to ethanol for consumption purposes and the products made from it, as well as flavourings and essences.
The SAB ensures compliance with the advertising regulations for spirits in the Alcohol Act. The SAB works closely with the cantonal authorities regarding the implementation of the trading rules. Together with its partners, the SAB monitors compliance with the provisions on the protection of minors contained in both alcohol and food legislation.
The tasks in the area of the ethanol import monopoly are undertaken by Alcosuisse, the profit centre of the SAB. Alcosuisse is to a large extent an independent organisational unit and maintains storage tanks at its plants in Schachen in the Canton of Luzern and in Delsberg in the Canton of Jura.
The Alcohol Act, which dates from 1932, is currently being completely revised. The objective is to create the basis for an alcohol policy which is forward-looking in order to respond to current and future challenges. In connection with the complete revision, Alcosuisse is to be privatised and the remaining part of the SAB is to be transferred to the central Federal Administration.