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Wine and the system..

Brainwashed in Sweden

Sheila Craig
post 27.Sep.2011, 10:33 AM
Post #1
Joined: 5.Mar.2006

. I have numerous friends and acquaintances, all intelligent people, who, when the country's weird alcohol system is discussed, trot out the explanation that the Bolaget only stock wines of a very high class and that you are able to buy wine of the finest quality here. Where are you not able to do that? Most European supermarkets have extensive wine stocks at decidedly better prices
I cannot believe that the Swedes have been so brainwashed.
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johnjohn
post 27.Sep.2011, 10:43 AM
Post #2
Joined: 10.Dec.2010

Why can't you believe that the Swedes have been so brainwashed?
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Schrödinger's cat
post 27.Sep.2011, 11:16 AM
Post #3
Joined: 27.Sep.2011

QUOTE (Sheila Craig @ 27.Sep.2011, 09:33 AM) *
Most European supermarkets have extensive wine stocks at decidedly better prices

The prices at Systembolaget are intentionally high and the method used is taxes. Remember, it's a government controlled monopoly.
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erik68
post 27.Sep.2011, 11:24 AM
Post #4
Location: Sweden
Joined: 8.Sep.2011

When you say most european, you don't include eastern and central european countries where wine is not as popular as in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal?
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London_Jim
post 27.Sep.2011, 11:42 AM
Post #5
Joined: 10.Aug.2011

Don't know if wine is that much higher in cost than the UK - maybe more so the last year relatively because of currency fluctuation. Bottle of Chilean table wine is about £7-8 in both countries.

If beer is bought by the bottle, there's not that much difference either - £1 in supermarket and about 12kr in Bolaget.

Big difference is that Bolaget doesnt' have the deals such as 25% off bin-ends that are common in the UK and certainly doesn't have the beer deals that UK supermarkets have as loss-leaders for obvious reasons.

Malt whiskys are the only thing I notice with huge add-ons - roughly double price compared to UK.
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007
post 27.Sep.2011, 11:50 AM
Post #6
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Apr.2006

there are some facts regarding systembolaget.
1. they are one of the largest purchaser of wines and spirits globally which gives them quite an upper hand when negotiating prices.
2. that negotiating power results in low purchase prices which results in lower prices in Sweden (even with the exorbitant taxes) for higher end wines (while lower end wines are more expensive nearly across the board than outside Sweden due to the tax added)
3. their range of products is among the largest in the world, (though you have to consider that you might have to order one of their products to be delivered to your nearest systemet.) it's like a library card access to the books of one of the largest libraries.
4. the selection on offer has been "taste tested" and should mean it won't taste like pure pi$$, but taste is personal, so some stuff, especially on the cheap end can still be rather vile. though throughout the heat of the summer i have very much enjoyed a sparkling wine which cost 53kr.

as for what you're hearing. i don't know, but i don't think swedes don't think you can find quality wines elsewhere. but to stave off the downside to a state-controlled monopoly when it comes to access, they try to see the other perks.
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Rick Methven
post 27.Sep.2011, 11:59 AM
Post #7
Location: Linköping
Joined: 30.Nov.2005

QUOTE
1. they are one of the largest purchaser of wines and spirits globally which gives them quite an upper hand when negotiating prices

Not only that, they are one of the biggest owners of vineyards, owning French, Spanish Chilean and South African vineyards. A French friend on a visit here said that whereas he could buy vin d'table cheaper in France, the high end Bordeaux wines are cheaper in Sweden than in France.

It is wishful thinking that getting rid of the Alcohol monopoly in Sweden would lead to lower prices, you would end up with a number of smaller companies without the buying power vying for the same market and trying to make a profit, which they can only achieve by higher margins and higher prices for the end user. Privatising the Apotek has not made prices any cheaper
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gplusa
post 27.Sep.2011, 12:01 PM
Post #8
Location: Luleå
Joined: 4.Sep.2009

Have to say that I've never had any problem sourcing good quality NZ or Aus wines through Systemet, whilst avoiding a lot of the local rubbish that I would have previously had to fight through. I appreciate that.

Personally, I think the intention of the original post was pure wind up.
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London_Jim
post 27.Sep.2011, 12:31 PM
Post #9
Joined: 10.Aug.2011

Not sure that fact that Systembolaget owning greatest number of vineyards is true.

In some ways as mentioned by previous posts by 007 and gpusa, Systembolaget works well, but on the other, it's not so good for small alcohol producers to get a foot in, as they might do with a much smaller company willing to take a punt on something new.

Also, as a mature adult, I do object to not being able to buy alcohol within normal after-work supermarket shopping hours, but I can imagine this has been done to death by expats on the forum.

At least, you're now allowed to touch the bottles and don't get scowled at like a junkie collecting their methadone as was the case in the late 90s.
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soultraveler3
post 27.Sep.2011, 01:42 PM
Post #10
Location: Dalarna
Joined: 12.May.2009

The System has it's downsides being a monopoly and having horrible opening hours, but it seems to work well here. The hours aren't really any worse than the other stores in Sweden, but sometimes it'd be nice to be able to just go out and grab something last minute after 6pm, in case you decided to have a nice dinner or friends over after work. You can plan for that, but not everyone has the space, money or inclination to keep alcohol on hand.

Besides that though, Systembolaget is pretty nice. They have a small, but nice selection, they're always willing to order stuff for you and the ladies that work in the one here are always very nice. Actually the best customer service I've seen in Sweden outside of a couple very nice places.
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carterhayes
post 27.Sep.2011, 01:45 PM
Post #11
Joined: 12.Jul.2011

Its not about brainwash... This is about a country in the liquer belt that quite literary was about to drink itself to death about 150 years ago. Forgive me for suggesting it, but i think you just need to travel more to see the obvious. A weekend trip to Estonia for example, to Helsingfors, Glasgow, Moscow or just any random morning to Nyhavn in Copenhagen. In Nyhavn you would see the Enuits marked by alcoholism. A long time ago our government decided that it might not be a good idea to let its population drink themselves to death and made this construction "Systembolaget" kind of willingly admitting that Swedes cannot be entrusted to have it available at all times. As far as i know, in most countries it is also forbidden to make moonshine for yourself and others which seems reasonable to me.

It is however legal in Sweden to purchase your own beer and wine-making starter kits which i highly recommend because beer often comes out very nice and its fun to make. Also very easy. That way you also have constant access to alcohol whenever in need provided Systembolagets opening times are not sufficient.

Its easy to be a white liberal and young person thinking that this monopoly is a real bad thing. I kind of agree that it is moralizing and patronizing the population, but it is also rather obvious that we just can not deal with that sort of freedom in our countries up here North. Even if we here could, we dont want our kids to do it. Swedes are actually in favour of Systembolaget and generally think it works well. (Brainwashed?).

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100114/157541676.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/7...n-Scotland.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3513578.stm

I guess the main question is not what kind of freedom you and i want, but what kind of freedom we want to grant _all_ other adults?
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Mo
post 27.Sep.2011, 02:05 PM
Post #12
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 30.Nov.2005

but in fact beer is very expensive
so the beer drinkers are subsidising the bordeaux drinkers
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007
post 27.Sep.2011, 02:13 PM
Post #13
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Apr.2006

sorry mo. not quite. bordeax isn't cheaper because beer is more expensive, but nice try wink.gif
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Schrödinger's cat
post 27.Sep.2011, 02:33 PM
Post #14
Joined: 27.Sep.2011

QUOTE (Mo @ 27.Sep.2011, 01:05 PM) *
but in fact beer is very expensive. so the beer drinkers are subsidising the bordeaux drinkers

That is not true.
Beer and wine does have different tax on them, but in no way are Systembolaget using the system you are implying.
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Mo
post 27.Sep.2011, 02:37 PM
Post #15
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 30.Nov.2005

well how can Bordeaux be cheaper in Sweden than in France if it isn't being subsidised ? And why should beer which Sweden produces be so expensive. Systemet (+ govt in the form of taxes) is fully in charge of the pricing and they choose to make beer relatively much much more expensive than the UK (& even more so compared to France) yet a good bordeaux is cheaper than either France or the UK. So why do you think Bordeaux is cheap here ? & I don't buy the purchasing power argument - because Tescos or Asda (Walmart) are not lacking in purchasing muscle
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