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Swedes drink less alcohol: study

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 19 Feb 2011, 13:35

Published: 19 Feb 2011 13:35 GMT+01:00

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Average alcohol consumption, measured as litres of pure alcohol, amounted to 9.3 litres per person aged 15 and over, according to the report compiled by The Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD) at Stockholm University.

The figure represents a decline from the 9.5 litres recorded in 2008 and SoRAD concluded in its report that a further decline is anticipated in 2010.

"The decline in the total alcohol consumption which was noted nationally during 2009 covers the whole country as a result of a reduction of imports and smuggling," SoRAD concluded.

In real terms this means that an average Swede drank 5 litres of spirits, 30 litres of wine, 69 litres of strong and medium strength beer and around 3 litres of cider and mixed drinks.

The state-owned monopoly alcohol retailer Systembolaget accounted for an increasing proportion of beer and wine sales and, together with licensed premises and sales of medium strength beer, accounted for 78 percent of total consumption, up from 74 percent in 2008.

Systembolaget's sales accounted for 62 percent of total sales while import and smuggling accounted for 14 and 6 percent respectively; 10 percent was consumed in restaurants, 6 percent was accounted for by beer sold in grocery retail stores, and 2 percent was homemade.

Wine is the most popular drink of choice for Swedes, accounting for 41 percent of consumption, followed by beer and spirits on 35 and 22 percent respectively.

With regards to smuggling and import, there were significant regional variations highlighted in the report, with as much as 30 percent of the alcohol consumed in southern Sweden brought into the country this way.

Story continues below…

Stockholm residents consumed the most alcohol on average in 2010, with around 10 litres of pure alcohol per person, while the province of Norrland came in lowest with 7.5 litres.

Norrbotten and Västerbotten in the north of Sweden, and Jönköping in central Sweden, lead the country when it comes to alcohol abstinence, with 35 percent of women and 25 percent of men eschewing the drink.

Despite the small total decline in recent years, alcohol consumption remains relatively high in a longer historical perspective, with 2009 consumption some 15-20 percent higher than in the middle of the 1990s.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:28 February 19, 2011 by Nemesis
A blind, deaf and dumb monkey could point out that Swedes are drinking more alcohol, not less.

Whoever did this survery must have been wearing blinkers.
12:35 February 19, 2011 by rashkow
I am from Africa and I used to see many people whose lives destroyed by alkohol and drugs, but here in Sweden on the weekends I see many young people buying various types of alkohol winds which I understand it can destroy the economy and lives of many youth.
12:54 February 19, 2011 by andrewsrocks
mmmm that swedes stopped buying at system bolaget does not mean they "reduced" alcohol consumption... black market rules baby
13:01 February 19, 2011 by Swedesmith
I knew that when I left Sweden their would be an impact but I didn't realize how big.
13:54 February 19, 2011 by RACOON
Swedes buy alcohol on Tallink & Silja Line!......lol
14:05 February 19, 2011 by Rebel
Maybe as Islam grows, alcohol consumption will decrease until someday it can be banned completely in Sweden.
14:10 February 19, 2011 by RACOON
@ Rebel

I dont think so!
14:19 February 19, 2011 by krattan
I can also provide some of the anecdotal evidence this time as I've been at Systembolaget maybe twice during the last year. This is part of an all around healthier lifestyle which is an ongoing trend in Sweden. But as always you can't judge a countrys population by the company you keep.
14:53 February 19, 2011 by Rick Methven
@ Krattan

"maybe twice during the last year."

Last of the big spenders LOL

If I only went twice a year, it would be with a ten tonne truck
15:38 February 19, 2011 by Swedesmith
@ Rick is that ten tonnes before loading or after?
15:41 February 19, 2011 by GlobeRider
Being sober is boring!!! 8:D
15:44 February 19, 2011 by amir1106
Dont sit inside and do study... go out on weekends,,,, be realistic
15:50 February 19, 2011 by Rick Methven
@ Rick is that ten tonnes before loading or after?

If the truck weighs 3 tons empty then it would be 13 tonnes after
15:50 February 19, 2011 by UScitizen
The amount per person is being caculated from age 15. Now, I drank at age 15 so I know it happens but who's making sure each and evert 15-17 year old gets his/her share? Maybe if the total was caculated from 18 up, THEN it would show an increase.
15:59 February 19, 2011 by RACOON
@ GlobeRider

Ha ha ha ah......... lol
18:19 February 19, 2011 by Douglas Garner
For once... you idiots... the Local did provide adequate statistics for the article to be meaningful for people who actually take the time to READ... okay, perhaps some readers must have someone read it to them...

Included were statistics for imports and smuggled goods... that takes care of the cruise lines, home brew was calculated out. Hanging out in systembolaget would not do much to convert your personal observations to consumption, neither would hanging out in a bar. The unit sales information as was obviously used here, however, is meaningful.

So, unless you actually have something to say other than make jokes, you could probably extend the life of your keyboard by typing less, and share your comments with the one (probably your drinking buddy) who read the article to you in the first place!
19:35 February 19, 2011 by Michael Whitfield
Nothing wrong with a normal consumption of wine or barley beverages, but like the saying goes, everything in moderation. But with the price of alcoholic beverages in Sweden that is a moot point.
20:10 February 19, 2011 by kenny8076
thats funny i thought like 7 or 8 months ago they were saying Swedes are drinking more?!?!

i skimmed through and noticed someone mentioned black market for alcohol.... and i have seen a couple friends buy from this market...... hahaha its so funny to me that there even IS a black market for beer lol, i cant get over it. I sure miss just being able to run up to the 7-11 and grab a six pack. Some things here are just plain silly, its like you need a babysitter your whole life!!
20:28 February 19, 2011 by Israeli Jew
It seems that the phony people (Swedes) are following their children molesters who used to say: drink but don't get drunk.

Why on earth people, traditions, laws, manners and morals in this country become so fake....
21:45 February 19, 2011 by Swedesmith
Hey Donald, what's wrong with making jokes?
23:25 February 19, 2011 by Twiceshy2
kenny do like me, just get a whole cart full of beers from Systembolaget loaded in your car (rent or borrow one once a year if needed), and you'll never need to pick a six pack ever again,
02:12 February 20, 2011 by matona1
very simple no money
03:27 February 20, 2011 by Keith #5083

another amazing anecdote! shuper fuzzy - erm - funny.
07:21 February 20, 2011 by UScitizen
@ Douglas Garner

Chill out man!!! Have a few drinks and calm down. You must have the DT's or something! Those AA meetings you're going to AREN'T working. Go ahead and have a beer for goodness sake!
10:01 February 20, 2011 by calebian22
As if alcohol consumption will ever drastically change in Sweden. It is truly the social lubricant.
11:35 February 20, 2011 by amir1106
actually this study is based on last week before salary. when they can only buy one beer.

@ Douglas Garner . .... nothing.... lol
12:09 February 20, 2011 by johnny1939
No wonder that Jönköping is on the list for little drinking since that part of the country is full of bible thumpers.

In Stockholm the bars & restaurants seem to always be crowded w/ young drinkers. I wonder how they can afford it? But maybe they live w/ their parents or have liberal student loans. A friend of mine brought home 27 bottles of wine from Portugal.! Every time I fly I see my fellow countrymen loaded down w/ plastic bags from the airport store. In Newark I have noticed SAS people in uniform loading up in Duty Free...looks really bad.. but better than seeing them in the bar I guess.
18:44 February 20, 2011 by dan_sparrow
yeah swedes drink less and santa claus exist!
20:57 February 20, 2011 by Ivan Juric
I was in both Croatia and Sweden (mostly Sodermalm) last year. A study claimed that Croatia had amongst the highest consumption. When I was in Sodermalm I noticed a high level of intoxication. When I was in Croatia the only time I noticed high alcohol consumption was by tourists from affluent countiries including Swedes and Norwegians. This is what made the rate higher in Croatia. This study is not a very accurate measure. If you want to see high alcohol consumption come here to Australia on a Saturday night.
21:14 February 20, 2011 by elepaol
Drinkin' in Sweden is not decreasing, as well as it doesn't decrease long term effects of it!
23:56 February 21, 2011 by philster61
Swedes drink less alcohol? Since when?? In what dimension do Swedes drink less??
01:33 February 22, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
Is it true that O.P. Anderson aquavit is going out of business?
21:47 February 22, 2011 by CLiv
@Israeli Jew, I sure hope you do not live in Sweden, and if you do..Get the hell out of my country!!!!
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