As everyone knows, beautiful, sunny Sweden is also the country of a state monopoly for selling alcoholic beverages stronger than 3.5 vol per cent of alcohol. In the ordinary supermarkets, there are only three kinds of beer available: light beer, which is basically water; somewhat less light beer (“middle beer”) which is water trying to do the beer thing, but failing, and something called Class II, which is very, very shy beer.
Common beer is called “strong beer” or class III and can only be bought at the dedicated boozery, or Systembolaget.
When I came to Sweden, the main Systembolag in Borås was a huge intimidating store with queue numbers, number beepers and multiple counters that were occupied by dour people who looked dispassionately at you while you tried to remember the four-digit code of the product of your choice. (more…)