Specialized retail stores for alcoholic beverages could be opened in Lithuania in 2018, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said.
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"I think 2018 is a realistic date for specialized stores to emerge. I think a year or a year and a half is a sufficient length of time both for us to make calculations and for businesses to prepare themselves," he said in an interview with BNS.

The government plans to confine alcohol sales to specialized stores in the future, with the number of such stores to be set based on the size of the population.

The Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union (LPGU), the party that triumphed in the October general elections, promised during its election campaign to impose a state monopoly on alcohol sales, but later softened its position.

The government's program says that a monopoly will be discussed only if specialized stores do not yield satisfactory results.

The World Health Organization ranks Lithuania among the top three alcohol consuming nations in Europe.

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