We like to start this post with a sincere apology to all the inhabitants and fans of Scandinavia. Yes, we know about the beautiful nature; the beautiful lakes, fjords, forests, bright skies and fresh air. The amazing myths, legends and fairy tales. As well as the heroic history of the fearless vikings and its current noble inhabitants of tall strong men and gorgeous girls. Yes, we know all that but still we won’t set foot on Scandinavian territory. Cause no matter if it’s Norway, Sweden or Finland; we hate your ridiculous alcohol policies.
Because that’s what these countries have in common. Once the home ground of the brave Normans, who had one other hobby next to pillaging: feasting and drinking. So what happened? Why did the viking warlords get replaced by pussy politicians who do everything they can to get their people off the booze? Cause this is of course the reason behind the high taxes on alcohol and other idiotic rules on booze. Don’t these politicians know they have more dark hours a year than the other European countries? And than to take this liquid pleasure away from them, this is clearly a case for Amnesty International. Join us on our tour and see the horror with your own eyes.
Let’s start with Sweden. Research tells us that the price of a domestic beer (0,5 liter) or an imported beer (0,33 liter) in a restaurant is about 50 Swedish crowns, which is 6 euros. In the stores they cost 1,80 euros. In both cases this is about three times the price of beer in other comparable Western European countries like Holland, Belgium or Germany. And if that isn’t bad enough, the real beer (more than 3,5 %) and other booze can only be bought in one of the 418 state owned liquor stores or systembolaget. The minimum age for those stores is 20 years and the stores have to conform to a lot more other stupid rules. Like all drinks have to be sold individually and no drink can be discriminated, which means all or none are offered cooled. In practice this means there is no cold beer in the stores.
So much for Sweden. Let’s check Iceland with its wonderful geysers. But what if you want to get a beer after a long day surrounded by hot water? Actually, this country has an interesting history when it comes to booze. The prohibition has been lifted not that long ago. Only since March 1 1989 drinks of over 2,25 % are allowed on the island. This date since then is celebrated as “Beer Day”. Half a liter of (local) beer is about 6 euro in a bar or restaurant. In stores however you pay 2,50 to 5 euro. The best you can do as a tourist is to visit the duty free stores when arriving at the airport. A liter bottle of vodka will cost you only 14 euros, now that’s more like it. The minimum drinking age in Iceland by the way is 20.
Back to the main land. Next stop: Norway. Here almost the same system as Sweden. Stuff over 4,75% is only sold in 280 state owned stores called Vinmonopolet. A beer in the stores will cost you around 3 euros, where a liter of vodka will cost you a crazy 50 euros. The alternative is frightening enough: half a liter of beer in a bar or restaurant will cost you about 8 euro. We could talk more about other horrifying details, but we know enough. Get us the hell out of here and let’s go to a civilized place.
Our last stop in Scandinavia is the country where they probably drink most in the region: Finland. For a long time the Fins were part of the Russian Empire and that shows when they started drinking. Unluckily for them, the prices are not equal to let’s say Saint Petersburg. Half a liter of domestic beer in a bar will cost you 5 euros. A bottle of the same size in stores is half the price. Like Sweden and Norway, Finland also has a store with the monopoly on liquor (everything over 4,7 %) that goes by the name Alko. Well we couldn’t get a clear price on stronger drinks like vodka, but we’re tired of looking around. Just believe us when we say it’s expensive too and we can leave this God forsaken place called Scandinavia.
So there we are. The end of our horrible journey. Man, can’t imagine actually doing this tour in real life. Although we must say that there are some brave souls in Scandinavia that don’t want to be controlled by their authorities and illegally make their own liquor. This resistance we respect very much for not blindly following their idiotic leaders. But anyway, I think you all drew the conclusion that Scandinavia, even with its amazing nature, is hell on earth. So next time you see someone of the countries above in yours, please invite him or her for a drink. These people have suffered enough.
Related posts on Lords of the Drinks: