Alcohol

(Potential) Panic in the Streets of Stockholm

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Even by the standards of Swedish nanny statism, this is pretty stunning. A friend passes along this taxpayer funded advertisement that ran in today's edition of the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet—itself partially funded by the state, incidentally, through something called "presstöd" (press support). According to the ad, the state liquor monopoly, Systembolaget, must be saved or there will be pandemonium in the streets; people will die; the state bureaucracy will collapse (hurrah!); your wives, mothers, and sisters will be brutally assaulted. Or something:

A quick-and-dirty translation of the ad:

Why Can't You Guys Buy Wine at the Supermarket?

Imagine that you suddenly get this question from a tourist. Perhaps you know exactly how you should answer. If not, it might be good to know what the results of a recent survey showed: The Swedish alcohol monopoly saves many lives each year. If strong beer (Note: beer with more that 3.5% alchohol per volume), wine and spirits were sold in grocery stores consumption would increase by 30%, researchers believe. And they stress that this is a conservative estimation—the increase could be more. They calculate that there will be approximately 1,600 more deaths each year, 14,000 more assaults and around 16 million more sick days.

So the monopoly makes a huge difference for a lot of Swedes. And because it will only be around as long as people want it to be, we at Systembolaget have to do everything in our power to make sure our customers are satisfied.

This has resulted in our having perhaps the world's largest assortment of strong beer, wine and spirits. (And an assortment one not finds in Stockholm and Gothenburg, but also in Jokkmokk and Töreboda.)

If you want more [pro-monopoly] arguments, visit systembolaget.se.

(Tip: Billy)

NEXT: No Boobs on Base. Except When Paul Broun Visits.

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  1. Don’t all the smart Swedes go on trips to Denmark to fulfill their hooch needs? Thought I read something about that.

    Perhaps if Swedes were able to buy booze at the grocery store, they’d turn back into Vikings. That could be problematic.

  2. If strong beer (Note: beer with more that 3.5% alchohol per volume), wine and spirits were sold in grocery stores consumption would increase by 30%, researchers believe.

    Better not tell the marketing guys that. Might drive them to drink.

  3. Can’t you just buy aquavit from your neighbor?

  4. Isn’t this how it is in Pennsylvania too?
    And Virginia?

  5. Don’t forget Connecticut!

  6. Yup, same blood-in-the-streets arguments, too (plus revenue!).

  7. Anyone have a list of what in Sweden isn’t partially or wholly funded by the State? It has to be a short list.

  8. Isn’t this how it is in Pennsylvania too?
    And Virginia?

    Was that way in Washington where I grew up. Then I went to a public college in MD, and was amazed one could trot down to the corner and get hard stuff for about 1/3 the price.

  9. WTF? I’m in Pennsylvania, we can’t buy alcohol in a supermarket — except in one or two “experimental” supermarkets that have a PA State Store located inside.

    And it would serve Europe right to have a resurgence of Vikings.

  10. They define “strong beer” as anything over 3.5% ABV? Pussies.

  11. Hilarious — this is the SAME debate going on in Oklahoma right now. Those evil wholesalers are wanting to be able to sell liquor and wine in stores.

    But it won’t matter — even if those bastards succeed, it won’t include beer stronger than 3.5%.

    Who knew Oklahoma was as progressive as Sweden?

  12. Anyone have a list of what in Sweden isn’t partially or wholly funded by the State? It has to be a short list.

    Sticking on the beer theme, I’m pretty sure the Swedish Bikini Team received no funding from the Swedish government.

  13. From NationMaster.

    #20 United States: 8.3 litres per capita
    #21 Poland: 8.1 litres per capita
    #22 Italy: 8 litres per capita
    #23 Canada: 7.8 litres per capita
    #24 Slovakia: 7.6 litres per capita
    #25 Japan: 7.6 litres per capita
    #26 Sweden: 7 litres per capita
    #27 Iceland: 6.5 litres per capita
    #28 Norway: 6 litres per capita
    #29 Mexico: 4.6 litres per capita
    #30 Turkey: 1.5 litres per capita

  14. Sticking on the beer theme, I’m pretty sure the Swedish Bikini Team received no funding from the Swedish government.

    And they deserve to be repeatedly tapped.

  15. Dagnabit, I hit Submit instead of Preview.

    My point – Sweden drinks more than Iceland and Norway, two other Scandinavian netions.

  16. You can buy booze in a CT supermarket, but the Sunday blue laws are still in effect.

    Kevin

  17. My point – Sweden drinks more than Iceland and Norway, two other Scandinavian netions.

    Is that on an annualized basis?

  18. What if they made it mail order only? Wouldn’t that save even more lives?

  19. The Democratic Republican | April 22, 2008, 4:25pm | #

    Who knew Oklahoma was as progressive as Sweden?

    Unfortunately, I am all too aware. Man, living in the Bible belt is awesome! (looking for gun to shoot myself with)

  20. You can buy beer, kevrob, but no wine or liquor. That is only in package stores.

  21. Stupid, but not the stupidest. In WI, you can only buy booze from the store up to 9 PM. You can however buy booze for consumption in a bar until 2 AM. So if you want booze after 9, instead of going to the store, buying it, then driving home to drink it, you need to go the bar, buy it and drink it, then drive home. As far as I can tell, it’s meant to preserve the state’s venerable tradition of driving while tanked.

  22. In WI, you can only buy booze from the store up to 9 PM.

    In CT it’s 9PM too. It used to be 8PM until a few years ago. Know why they changed it?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    To raise more tax revenue, of course!

  23. “Perhaps if Swedes were able to buy booze at the grocery store, they’d turn back into Vikings. That could be problematic.”

    They’d be soooooo much more fun.

  24. J sub D,
    Are those numbers equivalent of pure alcohol?
    Otherwise the numbers seem way low for a year’s worth of consumtion. (8.3 liters < 24 12oz bottles)

  25. #1 Luxembourg: 15.5 litres per capita

    Hey, I’m doing my bit to make USA No 1. The rest of youse guys seem to be slacking off a bit.

  26. On a related note, a few years ago on TCM I watched The Count of Old Town, which is distinguished mainly by being Ingrid Bergman’s first movie. A great deal of the action in the movie concerns attempts by the un- and underemployed to score illegal hooch since the Swedish government required you to have a license to buy alcohol – and a steady job to get the license.

    I don’t think the Swedes seem all that laid-back (their cannabis laws are as bad or worse than the US’s, IIRC). I think they get the reputation based on other, cooler countries like Denmark.

  27. Short Systembolaget:

    We sell death, but we sell it less efficiently. Please support us. Thank you.

  28. As everyone who has lived in scandanavia knows, Swedes can tend to be a bit puritanical and odd. Denmark has some awesome govt propaganda too though. In the s-tog (train) stations of suburban Copenhagen there are posters warning you of the consequences of underpaying your local taxes – your children will be diving into broken glass and used syringe needle filled swimming pools in decrepit, overgrown, Ballardarian community recreation centres. Quite stunning the first time you see them …

  29. I can buy liquor 24/7 at Walmart. One of the concessions for living in Louisiana.

  30. And Virginia?

    Grocery stores are only barred from selling hard liquor in Va. However, no retail alcohol sales after midnight, any day of the week. Must be a sop to the bar owners, who can serve until 2am.

  31. One of the concessions for living in Louisiana.

    Shouldn’t that read “One of the necessities for living in Louisiana”?

  32. If strong beer (Note: beer with more that 3.5% alchohol per volume), wine and spirits were sold in grocery stores consumption would increase by 30%, researchers believe.

    Imagine how much consumption would decrease if they’d ban it altogether. Oh wait…

    But seriously, I think we occasionally get the same line of bull in my state (though maybe not so forcefully). I believe one year, the state (pronounced ‘ze schtate’) warned that liquor would be controlled by the mob if returned to sinister private sector hands…like Safeway and Albertsons.

  33. My point – Sweden drinks more than Iceland and Norway, two other Scandinavian netions.

    Is that on an annualized basis?

    I read it as per capita alccohol consumption.

  34. My point – Sweden drinks more than Iceland and Norway, two other Scandinavian netions.

    Is that on an annualized basis?

    No, that’s at lunch.

  35. Hey, could easily stick that translation up and post these around Canada! Guy even could pass as a Newfie or something!

    I never thought I’d miss Georgia’s blue laws. But I do, I do.

  36. Of course, the logical conclusion of systembolaget’s argument is to prohibit alcohol entirely, driving the company out of business…

    I have a sneaky suspicion their website isn’t quite promoting that conclusion.

  37. That’s impressive. Even Ontario’s liquor monopoly only alludes to a vague “social responsibility” when trying to justify its existence. They’d never come out and say that high booze prices, inconvenient locations, and poor hours of business are good for you.

  38. What if they just banned alcohol altogether? By their own logic that would save the most lives of all.

  39. Did they close the liquor stores in Montreal last night? They were rioting, burning cars illuminating the streets. Looked like paris.

  40. you can only buy liquor 24/7 in orleans and jefferson parishes, unfortunately (n.b., maybe some surrounding parishes, but i know you can’t in lafayette consolidated parish as of 2006). head to, say, shreveport, and you may only purchase beer and wine on sundays, and liquor on approved days up til 9pm. i know, shreveport is an aberration, but so is everything south of alexandria.

    on another note, presst?d, if swedish follows germanic orthographic conventions (which i understand they do), should be pronounced similar to “press-turd” in english. not quite that simple, but a humorous similarity in sound, nonetheless.

    btw, i live in nashville now, and i can’t even buy wine on sundays. or beer over 5%. but swedish snus is pretty damn good.

  41. I hate it when liberals point to Scandanavian countries as socialist paradises and the US as a fascist hell. In most ways we’re far more enlightened than they are.

  42. psst – j sub – iceland isn’t Scandinavian…

  43. Now one begins to realize wht Minnesota and Wisconsin are so Socialistic. All dem dere Svedes und Norskis

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