For some reason I have been spending too much time looking at receipts. A few days ago I noticed the ecological markings on my grocery receipt from Coop, and now I’ve been staring at my Systembolaget receipt.
It’s been a long time since I bought alcohol in the US. Or at least alcohol that didn’t come in drink form straight from the bar. It’s the downfall of having lived out of the country for nearly two years now. My memory fades. I’m getting old. Hell, I’m halfway to fifty now.
Anyway, I do know what it is like to buy alcohol here in Sweden. As a general rule, it is a pain in the ass. Expensive, restrictive, just not fun. But they do have an interesting way of pointing out exactly what you bought. Not just the name of the beer you bought. Not just the price. But the alcohol content as well.
You know, just in case you wanted to know what the cheapest way to get drunk by alcohol content was. You can do some quick math and bam, clearly your best choice is one of the Extra Stark beers. Usually brewed right here in Sweden.
I tend to stay away from those. Because they taste horrible. And I have limits. So when I looked at my receipt the other day, I was staring at a Primator Premium Lager (5%), a Bitburger Premium (4.8%), a Beck’s (5%), and a Zlat Bazant (5%). With this information I could determine just how much bang I was getting for my buck. Or crown as the case may be. I didn’t though. Because that would be weird.
On Systembolaget’s website, you can even search by alcohol content. It’s amazing. For example, if you’re interested you can buy 500 ml (that’s basically one can of beer) of the Norwegian “Dark Horizon” with 16% alcohol for only 149 SEK. That’s the low low price of $19.65. For one bottle of beer.
Or, if you’re feeling like you’d rather not spend that much money, you can buy a 500 ml can of Arboga 10.2, which, strangely enough has 10.2% alcohol. This will only set you back 18.9 SEK. That’s about $2.50. A little more reasonable. But still only one can.
From an institution that is often times defended because it supposedly helps to limit drunkenness, it seems strange to me that alcohol content should be marketed as much as it is. That being said, I am by no means an alcohol connoisseur. Maybe prominently displaying the alcohol content is useful to someone other than the drunk I saw sitting on the curb by the Finland boat vomiting at 11 in the morning.
Welcome to Sweden. Where anyone with a calculator and some patience can figure out the cheapest way to get drunk.