Sales of spirits high

Sweden's state-owned alcohol monopoly Systembolaget has reported that sales of spirits have increased this year, bucking the downward trend seen in recent decades.

But despite the fact that Systembolaget’s sales of beer and wine also remained high, researchers do not believe that the total consumption of alcohol in Sweden has increased.

Sales of spirits have plummeted since the 1970s, when 60 million litres of spirits were bought each year in Sweden.

By comparison, Systembolaget sold just 19 million litres of vodka, whiskey and other spirits last year.

But this year the curve has begun to display an upward turn. The first ten months of 2007 saw sales of spirits jump three percent compared to the same period last year.

If the trend continues until the end of the year, it will be the biggest increase since 1986, measured in terms of both percent and litres.

Systembolaget believes that it has started to win back ground after a period in which Swedes regularly traveled overseas to buy alcohol.

“People are buying more from us rather than traveling abroad,” said spokesman Björn Rydberg.

But while Systembolaget may have increased its share of the market, total consumption has leveled off after a two year drop, according to Stockholm University’s Sorad research centre.