Vice Squad
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Avoiding Alcohol Restrictions in Sweden... buying your alcohol abroad and bringing it with you back into Sweden. Sweden has tried to maintain its system of high taxes and tight regulation, even as the availability of cheaper foreign booze has increased due to lower taxes in neighboring states and liberalized EU rules on alcohol imports for personal use. The Swedish state alcohol retailer is generally described as a monopoly, but the fringe competition is taking a heavy toll: "...only 33 percent of the alcohol consumed in Sweden was bought through the retail monopoly Systembolaget, down from 44 percent a year earlier, after the EU forced Sweden to eliminate restrictions on private alcohol imports a year ago." According to the linked article, Swedish per-capita drinking has risen by more than a third since 1995, but remains below the EU average.

The Swedish state monopoly retailer recently has seen a significant increase in its sales of non-alcoholic beverages, however, despite not having a monopoly in that area.

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