Anyone who is familiar with Sweden or was born in this beautiful country knows that this mountainous paradise is not just known for Volvo, IKEA, and ABBA. Besides music, phones, and cars, Sweden is also known for having particularly high prices for alcoholic beverages. Needless to say, all countries have a unique take on these potentially addictive substances. In France and Italy, for example, children are slowly introduced to alcohol in an attempt to curb alcohol abuse and alcoholism, while, in the United States, beer and vodka are viewed as critical aspects of hard partying. So how do the Swedes view these intoxicating drinks and what status does alcohol hold in their culture? More importantly, why did they drive the prices of booze so high? Let’s take a closer look at this situation and find out more.
So how does Sweden control the sales of beer? This responsibility is placed in the collective hands of Systembolegat, a state-owned monopoly that controls booze containing over 3-5% alcohol. While Swedes and tourists can get drinks like beer or vodka at local pubs or bars, patrons are not permitted to take these drinks off the premises of these establishments. Meanwhile, drinks with 3-5% or less of alcoholic content are found on the shelves of public locations like gas stations and supermarkets.
Swedish Drinking Culture
In contrast to countries like Germany and the United States, Sweden has a much more restrictive view on alcohol consumption. In fact, from Monday to Thursday, about 2/3 of the Swedish population practices total abstinence and will frown upon any person who is drunk during this time. In fact, it is not uncommon for a Swede to approach a person indulging in alcohol and warn them about the potential risk of alcoholism. However, keep in mind that the populace of Sweden rushes into bars and pubs on Fridays and Saturdays to indulge in heavy drinking, out of pressure to party hard.
Views on Alcohol Monopoly
In truth, most Swedes fully support the practice of the Systembolegat and believe it is an excellent wall of defense against alcoholism. Without it, according to the Swedes, the nation would suffer from chronic alcoholism. As of recent times, only 4.4% of the entire population suffered from some form of alcohol use disorder. Perhaps, in this case, their control over alcohol could be equated to Canada’s control over marijuana.
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