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When can you buy alcohol in Sweden on New Year’s Eve?

When can you buy alcohol in Sweden on New Year's Eve?
File photo of Sweden's state-run alcohol chain Systembolaget. Photo: Ari Luostarinen/SvD/TT
Before planning your alcohol shopping this New Year's Eve, here's everything you need to know about Systembolaget's opening hours, Covid restrictions, and alcohol-free options.

State-owned alcohol chain Systembolaget is open on the days running up to and including New Year’s Eve.

It is likely that stores will be much busier than usual, with long queues and less availability throughout the day as everyone rushes to stock up. 

Below are the general opening hours, but keep in mind that local shops may have differing times – it’s best to check on Systembolaget’s website (in Swedish). 

New Year 2021-2022

  • Thursday December 30th: Open until 7pm
  • Friday December 31st (New Year’s Eve): Open until 3pm
  • Saturday January 1st (New Year’s Day): Closed
  • Sunday January 2st: Closed

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See also on The Local:

Epiphany 2022

  • Monday January 3rd: Regular opening hours
  • Tuesday January 4th: Regular opening hours
  • Wednesday January 5th: Regular opening hours
  • Thursday January 6th: Closed
  • Friday January 7th: Regular opening hours
  • Saturday January 8th: Regular opening hours

December is, unsurprisingly, one of the busiest times for alcohol shopping in Sweden. Due to the rise in cases of Covid-19, it’s a good idea to go to the store alone to reduce the risk of congestion and the spread of infection, and make sure you keep a distance to other people.

The Swedish Public Health Agency recommends everyone to wear a face mask on crowded public transport, but there is no requirement to wear one in shops. If you would like to do so anyway, there is no rule against it, and here’s the WHO’s guidance on how to wear it.

Shops are generally less busy in the morning, but during the holidays it may be impossible to avoid the crowds entirely, especially in the big cities. Just before Christmas, people shared pictures on social media of long queues and empty shelves at Systembolaget.

If it’s very busy, the best option is to not go at all. Systembolaget offers delivery services across Sweden, but bear in mind they will take longer to arrive during the holiday period.

You can find low-alcohol beer and non-alcoholic wine alternatives in supermarkets, which usually have longer opening hours over the holidays. The growing zero-alcohol industry means there are plenty of often excellent low-alcohol ciders, beers, and wines available in Swedish supermarkets. 

In restaurants there are no restrictions on the sale of alcohol at the moment, but as of December 23rd restaurants can only have table service and groups must be limited to eight plus keep a metre’s distance to each other. Everyone is recommended to keep a distance from other people in public spaces, especially indoors. Drink sensibly so that you’re able to follow health and safety recommendations.


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