Systembolaget mulls home delivery

Sweden's state-run alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget is considering plans to expand its current e-commerce to include a home delivery service.

Systembolaget mulls home delivery

“We can maybe get going next year,” said Systembolaget head Magdalena Gerger to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily.

Gerger told DN that the state-owned firm is prepared to consider opening a home delivery service for customers at a cost of around 100 kronor ($15).

Gerger described the move as a major decision, in comparison to the extension of opening hours to include Saturdays.

“We have to adapt to the reality that people live in,” she said.

From the autumn Systembolaget will provide customers with a collection service, whereby pre-ordered items can be collected in-store. The firm is now looking at introducing the home delivery service at 1-2 days notice.

Temperance society IOGT-NTO is not however overly enamoured with the plans, questioning how age controls can be enforced.

“In Norway they have already had this set up for a while and they have had significant problems with age checks. Primarily the Norwegian postal service have reported that their staff find it tough to take those fights at the door,” IOGT-NTO head Anna Carlstedt told the TT news agency.

She said that IOGT-NTO as a great many members who have grown up in families with alcohol abuse and they think that it is of concern to be able to sit at home and order.

“We understand that the Systembolaget is looking at this possibility, because they handle the retail trade of alcohol in Sweden and or course the internet and the home are part of this trade. But that which concerns us is that when availability increases, so does drinking. That much we know.”

The Local reported in July on calls from Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) MP Carl B Hamilton’s call for Systembolaget to be authorised to expand their e-commerce to include home delivery.

Hamilton argued that “Systembolaget’s monopoly and legitimacy is based on citizens accepting the monopoly” and argue that providing improved service would offset calls for a liberalisation of the alcohol retail trade.

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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.