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ALCOHOL

Sales up at Swedish state liquor stores

Sales at Sweden's state-run alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget, measured in terms of the amount of goods sold, increased by 9.2 percent in the first seven months of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

Sales up at Swedish state liquor stores

Alcohol-free drinks accounted for the largest increase, up 16.9 percent on the same period last year.

Sales of wine also saw a sharp rise of 10.9 percent, followed by strong beer at 7.6 percent, and spirits at 6.6 percent.

Systembolaget said in a statement that its sales have been on the increase for some time, a development that could be partially explained by the global downturn as fewer Swedes travel abroad to stock up on alcohol.

Further, the weak krona has led to an increase in private imports from Sweden to Finland, Denmark and Norway, Systembolaget said.

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SYSTEMBOLAGET

Swedes warned: Vodka won’t protect you from the coronavirus

Sweden's state-run alcohol chain Systembolaget has advised customers not to buy its spirits as a substitute for hand sanitiser.

Swedes warned: Vodka won't protect you from the coronavirus
Stockholmers queuing outside Systembolaget before Easter. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

One of the best ways of avoiding the new coronavirus and prevent its spread is to wash your hands often with soap and water, according to the Swedish Public Healh Agency.

If you don't have access to soap or running water, hand sanitiser is the next best option, but the product has been flying off the shelves as shoppers try to get their hands on a bottle.

Sweden's state-owned alcohol chain Systembolaget has been forced to put up signs in several of its stores informing customers that alcohol such as vodka and gin does not work as a substitute for hand sanitiser.

“NOT HAND SANITISER,” read the signs.

“We have had a few questions from customers and have put up signs in those stores,” said Systembolaget press officer Therese Elmgren.

“But it is not possible, just as the signs say. The percentage (of alcohol) needs to be higher.”

An alcohol concentration of at least 60 percent is needed for disinfectant to be effective in killing viruses or bacteria. Absolut Vodka, to use an example of a popular Swedish vodka brand, has an alcohol concentration of 40 percent.

However, some of the ingredients are the same, and during the coronavirus crisis Absolut has adapted parts of its manufacturing in order to produce pure alcohol which can be used for cleaning purposes, instead of vodka for consumption. This pure alcohol then needs to be mixed with gel, manufactured separately, to create usable sanitiser for the healthcare sector.

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