Some more stupidity from Sweden!

Sweden and how we look at alcohol never stops surprising me. A few weeks back I wrote about the consequences for Swedish breweries now when it is legal to buy beers through internet as long as the reseller is outside the country. The breweries can not sell directly to us, and they are too small to sell to Systembolaget (state owned shops). Instead the only option they have is to export the beers and then we can buy them back from an internet site outside the country, and probably with greatly increased prices, plus that you also have to buy with added Swedish beer taxes to the increased price.

So what about more stupidity and something that made me very angry this morning?, here is the story.

In Sweden and many other European countries that have high alcohol taxes compared to other European countries have similar problems. The problem is that people try to override the problem through buying all the alcohol outside the country or even buy smuggled beer that is pouring into the country.

The result is that people buy cheap beers that do not help the beer culture at all. And this affects the brewery industry in the country with the result that only a few large ones can remain, and they often have to go the same way for surviving, meaning that they export the beers so that the Swedes can buy them outside the border in countries like Denmark or Germany. And to make this in an economic way they try to produce the beers cheaper and quicker, which results in poorer quality during the production.

With that the brewery industry has tried to lobby for years trying to convince the Swedish parliament for creating a better situation that can help the local breweries against the cheap crappy rivals from abroad. The bigger breweries in Sweden have calculated that a 30% decrease would help them so that the beers can compete. The politics are arguing that this would mean that we would drink more. But the truth is just that you would move the market back so that we buy more beer locally in Sweden at the Systembolaget and at pubs and restaurants. I do no think that we would drink more, because for us the price is very important and that is why the abroad market has increased. And if you need to buy beer once or twice each year, I would speculate that you naturally buy more just because you try to calculate how much you need and think it is so cheap.

If you buy it locally at Systembolaget or even better at your local pub you can buy when you feel for it and with that you drink less and hopefully drink less. At least increasing the taxes and driving the market outside the country or over to the black market does not help, at least that is not the solution. It only just destroys the local brewery market in each country that tries it.

So what is then the stupidity which I am so angry about? well, here is the deal.

EU has recently settled that Sweden has different taxes for Beer and Wine, where the wine tax is higher. They then mean that Sweden as a country is executing discrimination against the wine industry in Europe compared to the local market, which is mainly the beer industry (Swedish wines is not a big market, :)).

When this decision came it was discussed that this was a blow to the Swedish alcohol regulations and that it would finally break up, and many people were so upset. The solution that was discussed that now Sweden had to decrease the wine taxes so that we get the same taxes, and the beer industry argued as mentioned before that both taxes should decrease to a more normal level.

But what happened? well the news came this morning that the government has now find a solution to the problem. Instead of decreasing the wine taxes to the same level as the beer taxes, the solution is that the beer tax is DECREASED to the same level as the wine tax. And with that the total alcohol taxes is increased, not decreased.

How stupid can it be? we do changes due to the EU rules but not in the same time look at the consequences. No, we just decrease it, and the answer back from the responsible minister is that it will have limited effect to the Swedish market.

Limited effects! The beer is pouring into the country and the market is moving to a black market which means that the Swedish brewery industry is dying. And the minister says limited effect and come with a conclusion to the problem that the solution is decreasing something that is killing a market and is driving people to drink cheap Euro lagers. Limited effects?

Seems that the Swedish politics can not try to create newer and better solutions when the feel that the old system is breaking up, no they think that they can find a solution by just keeping the system and doing strange decisions within the existing system instead. It is time for Sweden to understand that the battle is over and trying to keep the system just means that it will create very unlogic results, like;

1. More and more alcohol is bought outside the country.
2. More and more is moved to the black market.
3. Swedish breweries are dying
4. We drink more and more and concentrated to cheap beers and wine, and at home instead of good quality products at the local restaurants and pubs.
5. To buy a micro product for home consumption you have to buy it abroad through an internet site

What can you say? "OUT OUT YOU DEMONS OF STUPIDITY"...

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