Don't worry Swedes, you can still get glögg this Christmas

Lee Roden
Lee Roden - [email protected]
Don't worry Swedes, you can still get glögg this Christmas
Glögg is a drink similar to mulled wine popular in Sweden at Christmas time. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

One of the greatest Swedish dramas of modern times began to unfold earlier this week when reports emerged that a new EU rule change could see some drinks previously labeled as glögg stripped of their traditional title.


But now the European Commission has attempted to end the confusion by releasing a statement through its Swedish branch which clarifies that the Christmas favourite will not be impacted by any rule changes.

“The basis of the reporting in recent days is said to have been an updating of an earlier rule. The update has only been done in certain areas, for among other things to do with technological developments and to guarantee a high standard of consumer protection,” the European Commission in Sweden statement says.

“That update has no effect on the definition of what is considered ‘glögg’, ‘vinglögg’, or ‘starkvinsglögg’.”

In other words, there will be no EU-enforced difference in the glögg available on shelves this Christmas. That includes fortified glögg (starkvinsglögg), which it was previously reported could no longer be sold under the name because it contained alcohol not created from grapes, such as rum or whisky.

The issue even appeared to confuse Swedish state alcohol monopoly Systembolaget, who told The Local on Tuesday:

“In order to continue to sell products which have for a long time been part of our Swedish drinking tradition, Systembolaget has broadened our ‘glögg’ section so that it also includes ‘other Christmas drinks’, for example seasoned drinks where the producer chooses to add alcohol in the form of rum or whisky.”

The head of press for the European Commission in Sweden would not comment to The Local on whether Systembolaget had misunderstood the impact of the rule change, but did say that the EU had not enforced any new rules forcing glögg makers to change the names of their products.

He also made clear that the content of all the usual variants of the popular Swedish Christmas beverage have not been altered, as The Local reported earlier this week, including those with added rum or whisky.

“Fortified glögg as it is defined in the EU rules is a wine drink that includes added alcohol. Those rules say what kind of alcohol is included in it, which is distillates of agricultural products. And agricultural products includes more than just grapes, right? So it could be distillates of apples, cherries. Or rum, which is made with sugar cane, for example,” Johan Wullt said.

“There’s no difference. The updated rules mean no change.” he confirmed.

The Local contacted Systembolaget for comment.


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