Cultural Learnings Of… Booze In the Nordics, Part II

August 5, 2007



I have talked before on the subject of booze prices and restrictions in Nordic countries, namely how the Swedish system is closed tighter than Putins rear end but today I am on the err.. rear side of this equation, getting the cheaper booze down south.

So heres how it works up in these parts. Sweden and Finland have crazy high prices for alcohol and indeed for that matter, crazy high prices for everything else. So when these "real" scandos want a quick trip away, its just an overnight boat ride from Stockholm or a few hours on the fast ferry from Helsinki. Its great, come over for a day or two, gawk at how the backward people live and then use your stupidily high exchange rate to buy heaps of booze at already low rates. Now there are limits to how much you can take back but its more than a human can carry in beer and if you and your blonde little buddies all jump in mums volvo and bring it over, then you can basically fill the bastard without fear of getting anywhere near the limit.

So in these days when I am a certified cardigan wearing Swedish bloke, I decided to do as the locals do and bring back some booze with me on the party boat. Lets break it down price wise…

1 0.5L A. Le. Coq bought at the Rimi supermarket near the port in Tallinn: 0.76€
1 0.5L Lowenbrau bought from Systembolaget anywhere in Sweden: 1.4€

Since I dont know where your all coming from, ill use some good old €€€ for the comparison. However the currency doesnt matter, thats a 50% price difference. There are cheaper beers available in Sweden however they are all local and taste like dirt water so its not a fair comparison, atleast ze germans can make a decent beer. This all means you save around 70 euro cents for each can. If we extend this out a bit, my ticket from Tallinn to Stockholm cost 42€ so thats 84€ return (its more but work with me ok). That means to cover the cost of the ticket you need to buy around 110 cans which is only 5 cases of beer. Come on, 5 cases is nothing! These figures of course dont factor in the cost of a trolley which will hold 5 cases but you get where Im coming from. Now think about how much you can fit into the boot of your Saab wagon and your starting to see some serious savings.

I didnt want to start my own importing business so I just bought 2 cases back with me on my flimsy little trolley bought for 10€. it says its rated for 25kg (ie 2 cases) but i reckon it can hold more without doubt. I have already saved myself around 30€ but thats not really the point of the whole exercise really…. Buying 2 cases and a trolley at Rimi and then wheeling it clumsily down the road to the port and getting on the ferry full of other booze cruise scandos back to our socialist paradise at the top of the world? Now thats a REAL cultural learning 🙂

25kgs maximum my ass mcbain, you can easily get another case on top of that… im off to the onboard duty free!

Louis Zezeran

Louis Zezeran

Louis Zezeran is an Australian Stand Up comedian and comedy promoter based in Tallinn, Estonia.

He was the co-founder of Comedy Estonia, Comedy Finland and Comedy Latvia. Louis writes, does gigs and performs at private events through the Baltics and Finland
Louis Zezeran

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