Here is a word you definitely need to know in Sweden: Systembolaget is the state-owned store where you buy alcohol.
Well, it is the store where you buy drinks with more than 3,5% of alcohol. Below this amount, drinks can be bought in a regular supermarket.
A few rules to abide by
To enter Systembolaget, you need to be at least 20 years-old. And don’t try to mess with this rule. If you are less than 20, you can’t even be with someone who is buying for you. They won’t be able to buy alcohol if they are with an under-aged person. Plus, you will be systematically asked for your ID at the check-out, no matter how old you are. So, no cheating.
Prices are high
Drinks are taxed based on their alcohol rate. This leads to high prices, especially for spirits such as rhum or vodka. Beers and ciders are sold by unit. Count between 10kr and 30kr for a single beer or cider.
Restrictive opening hours
You can find Systembolaget stores in almost every cities in Sweden, and they all approximately have the same opening hours:
- 10-19 from Monday to Friday
- 10-15 on Saturday
- closed on Sunday
This makes it a necessity to organize yourself if you want to buy alcohol, before a party for instance. As a French citizen I am used to go to the nearest supermarket at 9pm before heading to a dinner or a party, but here I have to think about it days before! So sometimes you have to call your friends and ask them to get alcohol from you if you don’t have time to go – and then, you can Swish them.