Ordering booze online “carries no risk”

Despite strict rules on importing alcohol to Sweden, the risk that wine or spirits which have been ordered online from abroad will be confiscated by customs is practically zero.

Last year only three packages of alcohol were checked, according to Svenska Dagbladet. They contained a total of 18 litres of spirits, which were seized.

Swedish Customs says that it prioritises drug trafficking and smuggling of alcohol on a major scale in trucks and containers – not the small suppliers to individual households.

Posten, Sweden’s national postal service, is required by law to check suspicious items at two main offices, one in Skåne and one at Arlanda. They checked three such packages in 2004.

But the law is softer on the numerous courier firms which now also deliver post, even if it contains alcohol.

“The foreign internet suppliers almost always use other distributors,” said the managing director of the Swedish Brewery Association, Peter Mattson.

The head of the government’s alcohol inquiry, Kent Härstedt, says that Sweden has underestimated the scale of online alcohol purchases.

The current legal position on the matter is still unclear, with many apparently contradictory court judgements: the key question is whether the Swedish ban on the individual import of alcohol via an agent is contrary to EU regulations.

The Supreme Court has requested a preliminary judgement from the EU court, which is not expected until next year.

Would you order booze online? Discuss!

TT/The Local