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'Allow Systembolaget home delivery: politician

'Allow Systembolaget home delivery: politician

Published: 18 Jul 2011 10:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Jul 2011 10:00 GMT+02:00

Sweden's state-run alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget should be authorised to expand their current e-commerce, to include a home delivery service, suggests MP Carl B Hamilton of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), in an opinion piece published in newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Hamilton, a member of Systembolaget's board, cites the goal of "perfect service" as one reason to introduce this reform.

"Systembolaget's monopoly and legitimacy is based on citizens accepting the monopoly. Therefore one of Systembolaget's goals is that sober adults should receive perfect service. Suggestions to abolish the monopoly should be impossible to motivate with mediocre service from the company's part," he wrote.

Today, shopping in Systembolaget's online store means ordering a product from the limited order catalogue, and then going to one of Systembolaget's stores to pay and pick up your goods.

Hamilton suggests an expansion, in which all products are made available to order through the online store, and then delivered to customers' doorsteps within 2-4 days - provided the customer is sober and can show ID proving they are at least 20 - Systembolaget's minimum age.

"If the recipient does not meet these conditions, the goods will not be delivered. This is, just as in stores, easier for Systembolaget, since the company isn't run with profit goals, and denying a purchase isn't a loss or a setback," explains Hamilton.

Doctor Sven Andréasson, specialising in substance abuse and also a member of Systembolaget's board, is concerned that this suggestion poses risks to public health.

"If there's any change, it'll most likely be higher accessibility and higher sales, which in turn means more damage," he said to news agency TT.

Andréasson points out that the purpose of Systembolaget's monopoly is to keep alcohol consumption down.

"This is a step in the wrong direction, which contributes to an erosion of the monopoly's purpose and effect," he said.

Sobriety organisation IOGT-NTO agree with Andréasson, and feel that Hamilton goes "unnecessarily far" in his reform suggestions.

"This could be the last nail in the coffin for 'boxed wine alcoholics'. The monopoly isn't threatened by impopularity. On the contrary, seven out of ten Swedes think Systembolaget is great just the way it is," said the organisation in a statement.

Sweden's right-wing political parties have quickly warmed to Hamilton's suggestion, however, with representatives from the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), the Moderates and the Christian Democrats all voicing their approval.

The suggested reform could also be a way to solve the issue of selling alcohol in privately owned farm shops, according to Hamilton.

Critics have previously suggested that allowing farm shops to sell alcohol could lead to criticism from the European Union which could see the end of the Swedish alcohol monopoly.

With a doorstep delivery service, visitors to Swedish distilleries or vineyards would be enabled to order products on the spot and then have them home-delivered.

Hamilton also writes that Systembolaget's opening hours should be a matter for Systembolaget's board to decide, instead of the practice today, where hours are regulated by Riksdag mandate.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:05 July 18, 2011 by lovedealer76
i think the sweden monopoly alcohol system is the best secure and decent service i've experienced so far in europe though their price is expensive as compare to their western european counterpart
13:13 July 18, 2011 by jacquelinee
Great idea and I agree with the post above. You always buy product that is good quality to a greater or lesser degree. There is never really awful product as you can find in some other countries in liquor stores.
13:40 July 18, 2011 by Maggie Malay
...and how much exactly will the customer be charged for a 'home delivery service'?

One thing I have learned about Sweden is hardly anyone does anything for nothing - and delivering stuff is one of the most prohibitively expensive things
13:58 July 18, 2011 by Rishonim
I would rather have the option of buying a bottle of lesser quality of wine on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon than having all the best quality at systemonopoly.
14:49 July 18, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
By allowing this, Mr. Hamilton can stay Saturdays and Sundays at home watching TV and getting drunk.
17:12 July 18, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I would think a powerful public safety argument could be made by allowing home delivery. I'm all for it. That said. I like Systembolaget and think they generally have good service and selection, but i think it's been proven beyond shadow of doubt that having the government run a national liquor store is dumb, wasteful and distracting from the core missions of where government can serve the nation.
17:37 July 18, 2011 by swedejane
While there are a lot of swedish policies I agree with, this absurd Systembolaget is not one of them. How a supposedly "free" society can put up with this is beyond me...the short opening hours, the lack of selection (yes, go to any corner iquor store in the US and you'll have much more variety), the astronomical prices. Oh, and by the way, I see way more people completely blind drunk out in public on the weekend than I've ever seen anywhere else...save for special events like the Superbowl, Mardi Gras, etc.
18:29 July 18, 2011 by cogito
@Swedejane

Not just in the U.S., in France, too, and most civilized nations) the liquor store will deliver.

I always feel sad for elderly Swedes in winter who might like a bottle of something comforting but cannot get to Systemet because of the ice and snow.
19:44 July 18, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@cogito

In this one, you are right. In winter you cannot even walk outside your house, so how can you go to the System to buy a bottle of wine? Good point, cogito, good point.
20:57 July 18, 2011 by ChomskyReader
@J. L. Belmar a rather sill comment really. If some one wanted tobe able to buy a bottle of wine or a few cans of beer late on a saturday evening or on a Sunday, why does it mean that the person will stay at home getting drunk? It's a bit of a small minded view is it not?
21:38 July 18, 2011 by diegoveggie
politicians are so lazy they cant be bother to go to system bolaget to get their alchohol hahah
22:16 July 18, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@ChomskyReader

If you do not dig satire, please stay away from any debate or, perhaps you are Hamilton and that is the reason you felt touched. Who knows. Your nose?
07:49 July 19, 2011 by nlidukdese
It is already possible to have alcohol delivered to your home in Sweden. Just order abroad, for example directly from the vineyard.

I assume Hamilton knows that more and more alcohol consumed in Sweden is imported from abroad, either through direct delivery or by people travelling abroad themselves. Some time ago Sweden wanted to tax self-imported alcohol but the EU stopped this.

So I suspect an important motivation for his proposal is a rather mundane one: to prevent a further loss of tax money.
09:37 July 19, 2011 by cogito
nildukdese.

Right. It's all about tax money. All the rest--concerns for public health or safety--is claptrap.

As for having alcohol delivered from abroad, yes, I like the idea of competition to SB. But you still have to plan and stock it, killing improvisation and spontaneity.

If you'd like, for example, on Saturday night, to invite a couple of neighbors in, or celebrate some good news, there is no place to go buy spirits.
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