The Swedish government has agreed to allow Systembolaget to deliver to homes in six locations across Sweden on a trial basis.
“In the trial we want to explore whether home delivery is possible while maintaining the regulatory framework which Systembolaget has today,” said Minister for Children and the Elderly Maria Larsson.
“We want to see if it can be done in a responsible manner without contributing to increased consumption,” Larsson said.
Systembolaget’s CEO Magdalena Gerger explained that the move was in response to the increasing popularity of internet retail.
“We have witnessd a change in purchasing habits. To order via the internet and then collect in store has almost taken over. We are now simplifying and improving it further for the customer,” Gerger said.
To ensure that the legal minimum drinking age is observed the home delivery service will operate a three stage check.
Firstly prospective customers will be required to open an account, approve conditions of service and divulge their personal identification number.
Secondly the buyer must produce a valid ID when receiving the goods; and thirdly the ID will be scanned by Systembolaget’s employee.
The home delivery option is set to be launched within a couple of days and will be charged at what Systembolaget claims to be cost price – around 250 kronor ($38) per delivery.
Despite the added convenience, Magdalena Greger does not believe that home delivery will contribute to an increase in alcohol consumption.
“One orders at home instead of going to the store, one doesn’t do both. But it is a new trial and that is why we have drafted in researchers who will evaluate it,” she said.
Meanwhile the government stated that it doesn’t intend to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages directly from farms and vineyards.
“The consultation bodies, not least the legal ones, have been critical and say that it is difficult to reconcile with the retail monopoly,” Maria Larsson said.
But the issue is set to remain under consideration at the Government Offices.
“We will analyze the issue one more time, we explore all the avenues to see if there is a way forward,” she said, pointing out that the Alliance coalition parties consider it to be a good idea.
“But we are not prepared to do so in a way that risks the Systembolaget.”