Friday, July 01, 2005

Internet booze floods Sweden

As in Sweden and Finland, but unlike Denmark, Norwegians can only buy wine in the state’s monopoly wine stores. Prices are even heftier than in Sweden, and smuggling in widespread:

Internet booze floods Sweden

Swedes are evading the country’s notorious alcohol taxes and levies by purchasing wine and spirits over the internet, national news bureau TT reported. ‘We have increased our sale by at least 20 times compared with last year,’ said Cybeerwines’ spokesman Pia Leisner-Qvarnström. On-line shops offer spirits at half the price charged by the Swedish state’s monopoly wine store, Systembolaget. A litre of Absolut Vodka costs SEK 157 online, while Systembolaget sells a 70-centilitre bottle for SEK 328. Swedish tax authorities suspect that the on-line sale of alcohol offers an opportunity to evade the country’s hefty alcohol taxes and said it planned to control the on-line shops’ websites from now on. Customers who buy alcohol over the internet risk having their orders confiscated by Swedish customs officials. Swedish legislators have considerably more restrictive views on alcohol than Danish authorities, which allow retail sale of alcohol with few restrictions. In Sweden, however, Systembolaget has a monopoly on retail distribution of alcohol, although the on-line shops have offered a loophole in the legislation.


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