Spirits Monopoly (alcohol monopoly): In Austria, spirits (alcohol) were put to economic use even before World War I. When Austria was annexed by the German Reich in 1939, the German spirits monopoly became operative in Austria as well. It governed the collection, production, purification and utilisation of spirits as well as the trade and import of spirits. This Monopoly remained in force after 1945 and was only abolished after Austria joined the European Union and Austrian law had to be modified. This reform began with the Spirits Tax and Monopoly Act (Alkohol-Steuer- und Monopolgesetz) of 1995, which abolished the wholesale and imports monopoly; in 1996 the spirits monopoly was restricted to the production of high-grade spirits from certain agricultural raw materials. The spirits monopoly is to expire in the year 2000, with subsidies being gradually phased out to allow the business enterprises involved to make the necessary structural adjustments.