Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A joke?...Booze price dropped in Sweden…

Here is something which is quite extraordinary. Imagine that all off-licence/liquor stores would be licensed by the government? It would work like this, all stores would be look the same, same name and the same price through out the country…pretty weird…not that weird if you live in Sweden that is exactly what they do.

No alcohol, apart from lower alcoholic beer with less that 4% volume alcohol, can be sold in supermarkets or mini markets…the government control all sale via the shops called Systembolaget.

The reason for this system? Well they are here to look after the wellbeing of the Swedish citizens…they claim the following:

Systembolaget, the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly, exists for one reason only: To minimise alcohol-related problems by selling alcohol in a responsible way, without profit motive.
This has worked well: Alcohol-related problems are smaller in Sweden than in comparable countries where alcohol is sold freely. The Swedish model isn't always convenient for the consumer - the stores aren't open all night, and you won't find one on every corner. But a majority of the Swedes are supportive. Partly because they appreciate our significance for the public health. And partly because they like our stores. (We offer one of the world's biggest selections of alcoholic beverages, and our employees really know their Chardonnays from their Sauvignon Blanc’s.)

Does the system work? Sweden has the same amount of alcohol related illnesses as its European cousins, the Swedes drink more that the Italians on average…so I am not sure. Well what about pricing, they would be able to charge anything they want???

I looked at three items comparing it to what we pay here in the UK and came up with the following;

Carlsberg Export Lager 440ml can Sweden £.089 UK £0.95
Smirnoff Red Label Vodka 70cl bottle Sweden £16.17 UK £11.29
Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 75cl bottle Sweden £5.19 UK £6.59

So whilst beer and wine is cheaper, spirits are more expensive. Here is the incredible thing…Systembolaget made some £50 million profit last year, so what are doing this year…Well they are lowering their prices!!!

Yep, you eyes did not deceive you; they are lowering the prices of alcohol…could you imagine something like that would happen in the UK???

Here is the part I do not get, Sweden spend an awful lot of money on research and prevention of alcohol sale, by “responsible selling”. You have to be 20 years of age to buy alcohol in Sweden. Advertising alcohol or alcohol related products are banned by law, so no Budweiser sponsored ad breaks during the world cup.

Still they manage to have lower prices on average than what we have here in the UK, it does not make sense…There are only some 9 million Swedes, still they pay less than what we do…

Is this just another case of rip off Britain again…I have been brought up by believing free market trade and no monopoly would mean cheaper prices and a wider assortment…now it seems the opposite…what is that all about?

Picture Per G. Norén


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carlsberg may be on sale at that price in the rarified environs of Cheltenham, but in any working class area of London you will find that you can buy c cans for £5 or 8 cans for £6. And Smirnoff is freely obtainable at £9.99.

Monday, 14 August, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re previous comment : that's 6 cans for £5

Monday, 14 August, 2006  
Blogger SLB Ericson said...

I accept that we will have to pay a bit more in order to drink our lager in a tranquil environment away from the riff raff, but it doesn’t change the fact that we live in a rip off society…

Tuesday, 22 August, 2006  

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