Revolution in Sweden? Alcohol monopoly to be abolished?

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Sculpture on the facade of the corporate head office of Systembolaget
Sculpture on the façade of the corporate head office of Systembolaget

No, not yet. It is likely to happen in Pennsylvania in the autumn but not in Sweden. In Sweden it will take more time. But there is quite a lot of discussion at the moment, with some exotic elements.

The CEO of the Systembolaget (monopoly retailer), Magdalena Gerger, has in several articles in the press attacked the (entirely legal) internet shops selling to consumers. She has also painted a “night-mare” scenario where an impressive 30 % of all sales of alcohol is done on the internet (“how horrible if so much alcohol is sold by e-merchants on the net!”).

However, she fails to mention (or has misread the report that the numbers come from) that by far the biggest part of it will be provided by the monopoly itself.

In another astonishing article Carl B Hamilton, who is a “liberal” politician that sits on the board of the Systembolaget monopoly states that “even the biggest wine shops in Paris, Milan or Barcelona has at the most 600-800 products”. Sitting on the board of one of the world’s biggest alcohol retailers, one would think he should know.

I went to our regular grocery shop in the outskirts of Paris and counted some 1200… If you live in any of those cities, what’s your impression?

We have written extensively on this in Swedish so if you are interested look at our “debate” articles in Swedish on alcohol politics and use Google translate. Or you can read the very short introduction on BKWine Magazine: The alcohol monopoly to be abolished?

A neon sign for Systembolaget the Swedish monopoly and a pedestrian crossing light
A neon sign for Systembolaget the Swedish monopoly and a pedestrian crossing light, copyright BKWine Photography

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