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Swedes drinking more smuggled liquor

TT/The Local · 8 Sep 2009, 08:19

Published: 08 Sep 2009 08:19 GMT+02:00

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The explanation for the decrease in foreign purchases of beer are a weaker Swedish krona and fewer trips abroad, reports Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

In addition, while the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly (Systembolaget) reported record sales, overall alcohol consumption in Sweden didn't increase in the first six months of 2009 due to the decrease in travel-related imports.

According to SoRAD, Swedes drank an average of three deciliters of smuggled alcohol each during the first half of 2009.

In the first half of 2009, Systembolaget sold 60 percent of the alcohol consumed in Sweden, while imports and smuggling accounted for 13 and 8 percent, respectively.

Story continues below…

SoRAD's report is based on information from 1,500 people who answered questions about their alcohol consumption.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:24 September 8, 2009 by peropaco
Although I understand swedes need the booz to wash down the hay which prevents them from communicating; I think it wouuld be more productive if they get of their fat azz and start boycotting the systembolaget which is the cause of smuggling. Hmm. Catch 22
10:37 September 8, 2009 by naturebox
Being an international student in Sweden is great for me. For the past 2 weeks I've met great people and seen cool places in Malmo. The one thing that bug me has to be the systembolaget . Of course the system won't work. Sometihng forbidden or in this case restricted is just a greater temptation. I've seen people running to get alcohol in the last minute or guys calling the alcohol dealer : )) which was really funny to me. I wish I could get alcohol regardless of time and place. And no, I'm not an alcoholic.
10:41 September 8, 2009 by EtoileBrilliant
I boycotted SB for the first five years in Sweden and then just gave in. Almost every Swede I know thinks that it normal to treat alcohol like a Class II opiate in terms of distribution.

My real gripe is the terrible opening hours and the effect it has on Swedish people. The very unscientific poll I conduct suggests that most Swedes don't keep more than a bottle of wine in their houses. It doesn't bode well for spontaneous parties!!!!!
11:33 September 8, 2009 by peropaco
EtoileBrilliant, I am with you on this one. The opening hours are so crappy that it almost is a major cause for anxiety and panic attacks. Yet most Swenson's will tell you that you should plan and anticipate better. I have lived in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland and the US and you don't know how refreshing it is to just walk down the street at any giving time; whether it is to the supermarket or gas station and just grab a handful of booze.
11:43 September 8, 2009 by MTTRN

I find your comments about Swedish people in this and other topics a bit offensive but that`s alright. The fact that someone does not jump in excitement every time they are asked pointless questions like: "How are you?"(at least 25 times a day) , "How was your weekend" or even the entirely meaningless "Did you sleep well?" does not say anything about their communication skills or how interesting they are as people. You have to understand that some people unlike others are not conditioned from their early age to be uncomfortable with silence. I personally cannot imagine something more boring than a chatterbox who talks about random things like the weather and football just because they start feeling uncomfortable if they do not talk for more than 10 seconds (ever met any?). You may think Swedish are boring and you are entitled to your opinion but please do bear in mind that maybe some nations were not born to entertain you.
12:02 September 8, 2009 by peropaco
MTTRN, I am happy you find it offensive. I also hope you will find other comments people spew about Jews, Muslims and immigrant's offensive as well. And actually, I don't care a great deal for the chatterbox neither or for the superfluous weather conversation. What's I find disturbing is when you greet good morning to someone and they pretend to not hear or when you hold the door open they are completely unable to muster a thank you.
13:41 September 8, 2009 by karex

Just a small correction: in the US you cannot buy booze in the supermarkets, with the exception of wine and weaker beers. Like Sweden, you have to go to a Liquor Store. Opening hours there vary according to State. Try buying any beverage with a slight hint of alcohol in Utah during the weekend. It's impossible.
15:09 September 8, 2009 by Bookashader
Oh come on!!! Swedes r cool people!! I have been in Sweden for the past 2 years at university and they are great fun to be with. I do understand peropaco's point of view to a certain extent. Swedes can be a bit reserved but once the effort is made and the ice is broken, they are great fun to be with! Alcohol does act as the social lubricant though.

Spread the love people.
15:54 September 8, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer

Just to correct you, in MOST (90%) of the US, you can walk into any liquor store and buy anything you please. There are some areas that have state controlled liqour companies/stores like Pennsylvania, and some states sell low (3.5%) beer (Minnesota/Colorado). Colorado you can't buy liquor in supermarkets, but you can get it at the adjacent bottleshop no problem at any time. There are some rural counties in Texas and in the south that are "dry" that don't sell alcohol. Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of Jack Daniels is in a notorious dry county. And some places you can't buy till noon on Sunday. They are referred to as "Blue Laws" if you want to research more.

Laws vary state to state, but in general, you can buy about anything, about anywhere at about anytime with no restriction.

My gripe about the Green Sign is that it doesn't prevent alcoholism, it's original purpose. It makes it worse. How? Because when the Swedes do get a bottle of Koskenkorva, they act like they stole it, or got away with something, and they go into "child mode", which supports your sterotypical "drunk swede" behavior. Not to mention, the VAT+monopoly+limited store availablity simply drives a black market and promotes smuggling while collecting progressively less tax revenue.

If Sweden were serious about lifting the restrictions, and about smuggling, they need to find the breakpoint where they are collecting the maximum amount of tax vs. supporting a extensive smuggling trend and regulate it from there.
16:34 September 8, 2009 by Puffin
Just out of interest what is so terrible about the opening hours?

SB is open 6 days a week - usually 10am until 6pm or 2pm Saturday (many places have at least one later evening as well where they stay open until 7 or 8pm)

Is this such a huge problem?
17:47 September 8, 2009 by farnoxo
Why not follow the Swedish tradition of undertaking bold social experiments: liberalise alcohol sales (allow wine and beer sales in supermarkets for instance) and decriminalise all drugs. The consequences will really not be the disaster the state thinks it will be - I mean most sensible people will not start shooting up with heroin just because it it decriminalised!

Think about all the taxes that could be raised, say, on marijuana sales - pipe a bit of electricity to hydroponic growing factories in Umeå and Bob's the uncle - Sweden raises GDP by 10% on marijuana exports and raises 7% on internal taxation:-) (and it gives the poor folks of Umeå something to be happy about!)
21:10 September 8, 2009 by mkvgtired
karex, that is not true. Maybe only in Utah, every supermarket I have been in sells hard liquor as well as beer and (sometimes not so good) wine. I have been to many states. Usually liquor stores are open later, but the grocery store closest to me in Chicago sells until 2am. After that you have to go to a bar or liquor store. Many gas stations only have licenses to sell beer or small bottles of liquor.
08:28 September 9, 2009 by calebian22

You can buy booze in supermarkets in some states in the US. Unless, Hannaford's is not a supermarket and Scotch is not booze. (purchased in Maine, three weeks ago) Making blanket generalizations about the 50 states of the US is bound to get you in trouble. There are federal laws and there are state laws. "State" run or licensed liquor stores are mandated by each individual state.
13:40 September 9, 2009 by jonathanjames61
There is notting wrong with Swedes,They are just socially Handicap,but that does not mean that they are not good people,please take some Shayo and get friendly
23:06 September 23, 2009 by Fonzerella
Not absolutely sure what the subject matter is here, I thought it was alcohol sales but seems to be about Swedish politeness too. So if I may add my twopenneth.....

The systembolaget is interesting because I don't think it's as expensive as I was lead to believe and I think it offers a fairly decent range of beers and wine. However, it closes at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. Yes I did say 3pm on a saturday afternoon. So talk about dark ages.... no wonder there are 'alcohol fixers' or whtever you call them. I've been here for only 2 months and I've already been introduced to two in case of emergency!

Now, enough of that, what about politeness???

Well I can agree with some comments here and to get a 'thankyou' is more difficult than in much of Europe. To get a random 'hello' whilst out walking is near impossible. To get invited around a Swedish household for dinner as a foreigner.... I can only judge on my own experience and say what a welcoming bunch of hosts the Swedes are. I maybe live in a more welcoming area or more likely, I make an effort to mix in, I don't know which but maybe it's more up to us as immigrants to focus our minds on the way things are here, not at home?

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