• Sweden's news in English

Swedes toast to cheap alcohol from abroad

TT/The Local/kh · 1 Mar 2011, 13:04

Published: 01 Mar 2011 13:04 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

One third of beer consumed in Sweden is bought from outside the country’s state-run liquor store monopoly Systembolaget as consumers often cross borders or seas in search of lower prices.

Thanks to the strong Swedish krona, alcohol is now at comparably rock-bottom prices at German and Danish border shops.

Last year alcohol sales at German border shops rose by 31 percent compared to 2009, according to calculations from the Swedish Spirits & Wine Suppliers Association (Spirits & Vinleverantörföreningens - SSWS).

This also means an explosion of business for bus operators who run day trips to border towns.

“Some people even book an empty seat, they want more space for what they buy," Mary Lamm, a travel agent with Ramkvilla Bus, told the TT news agency.

According to the association's estimates, individual consumers brought more than 45 million litres of alcohol into Sweden from abroad last year.

The Spirits & Wine Suppliers Association admits that the calculations are made in broad terms, and point out that no one today can confirm exactly how much alcohol is admitted into Sweden.

The rise in demand at border shops has also triggered a higher volume of alcohol exported by the association’s member companies to German border shops, where a large proportion of customers are Swedes.

"Of course our members sell beer where the Swedish consumers are and that is increasingly at the border stores," Frederick Sörbom of Sveriges Bryggerier ('Brewers of Sweden') told TT.

Last year Swedish brewers exported almost 43 million litres of beer to popular border stores, five million more litres than the previous year.

If people bringing alcohol or beer into Sweden can prove their claims that it is only for private use, the policies regarding imports are extremely generous, in principle unlimited.

Story continues below…

The lax import regulations have led to the development of networks that buy booze cheap abroad and sell it for a profit back in Sweden.

Anders Tragardh, head of the border protection department in Malmö in southern Sweden, fears that the strong krona could lead to an even greater influx of smuggled alcohol.

“Yes, of course, as the product becomes cheaper, the profits become greater. It can certainly entice more people to smuggle,” he told TT.

TT/The Local/kh (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:13 March 1, 2011 by kenny8076
And yet Sweden will continue to sell at ridiculous costs. Look how much money they are loosing. Would rather sell a nominal amount at high prices than a boat load and lower prices.............. this is why they missed out on selling the 31% that went to the German stores, and why 1 in 3 are bought outside Sweden. It blows my mind how they do business here
16:31 March 1, 2011 by zircon
Why not brew it yourself. You can get pissed out of your f... ing mind far more real.
17:04 March 1, 2011 by beeker
I agree with zircon. Make your own. Aquavit is easy. There are several good books and lots of web sites on home distillation. There's even a weekend class (german language, but the science is the same) in Austria near a couple of good ski areas.
20:07 March 1, 2011 by Nemesis
More like it is every third beer consumed in Sweden was bought in Sweden, with two thirds bought abroad.
21:10 March 1, 2011 by zeero
Good, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- Now it will publish it... :-)
23:45 March 1, 2011 by johnny1939
I think the wine is very reasonable in Stockholm at least. I could never be bothered w/ shopping for booze abroad there are more interesting things to buy and I feel kind of silly dragging around plastic bags and they are heavy too.
23:58 March 1, 2011 by Ivan Juric
If you need to travel abroad to buy booze then maybe it's not the price of the booze that is the problem.
09:46 March 2, 2011 by eppie
@Ivan Juric

:) indeed!!

Anyway, when you buy wines of over 200SEK /bottle the prices are very reasonable at systembolaget.
10:17 March 2, 2011 by Rishonim
All this problem could be solved if SystemMafia would loosing up the grip on the monopoly. Do you think it is reasonable that in 2011 we are not allowed to buy booz past 15:00 on a Saturday???This is ridiculous and I am happy to see people going the extra length to get booz abroad and causing a drain in systemMafia coffers.
11:33 March 2, 2011 by ooh456
SB is making bags of money, not losing it. Otherwise they would change their policy and lower prices. Visit a store on a Friday night and see for yourself. If people want to buy cheap alcohol across the border, that's their right under EU law.
Today's headlines
Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available