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Beers from Sweden

First Look on the Swedish Beers

So, what’s state of beer in Sweden? Beers in Sweden have a long history which can be traced back to the middle Ages.

Although the brewing in Sweden was affected greatly by the anti-alcohol movements which led to state control of various forms the country is continuing to be one of the important beer regions of the world.

But, brewing in Sweden is not easy as in several other countries. Perhaps, Sweden has the highly-taxed, as well as a highly regulated brewing system in the European Continent.

Now, let’s have a look at the Swedish beer laws and classes here…

Wine grape varieties

An Introduction to Beer Laws in Sweden

In Sweden, the name of the state control that is regulating the beer retails is called Systembolaget.

Under this system, the shops that are having a distinctive green- and yellow-colored signs are only allowed to sell alcoholic beverages like spirits, wines, and full-strength beers.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot find beers in supermarkets. But, the beers which you would get from supermarkets will contain low alcohol contents.

What can you expect as a Foreign Swedish Beer Buyer?

Although all the local people and some foreigners are very much aware of these laws on Swedish beers this system will be quite weird for a first-time foreign visitor.

This is because; the Systembolaget shops will shock by appearing more or less like the shops of the Soviet Union circa of 1975.

You cannot find any shelves with displays of the beers on sale. There will be only a few display cabinets wherein you can find one sample for each item that too kept behind the protective glasses.

In general, there will be counters at the rear end of the shop wherein you can say what beer you want. The same will then be retrieved by the sellers from the storeroom which will be hidden.

However, there are few shops which have adopted the self-service system more recently. Out of 390 total Systembolaget shops in the country, only 30 of them have the self-service system implemented.

Classification of Beer in Sweden

In Sweden, you can find that the beers are classified into four major classes depending on the alcohol content and hence, it can be said that the alcohol content will be determining where you could buy the beer you want. The four classes are as follows:

  • Class I – Lättöl: This can be translated into English as light beer and yes, these have the lowest alcohol levels of 2.25% or even less. In Sweden, you could buy these beers everywhere, including supermarkets, grocery shops, restaurants, and bars. In technical terms, these beers are classified as non-alcoholic beers and hence, these can be bought by anyone out there however these will not be sold to the minors.
  • Class II – Folköl: These beers can be also referred to as people’s beers. These are the beers with an alcohol content of 2.25 to 3.5%. These can also be found in grocery shops but are not sold to the individuals below 18 years of age.
  • Class III – Starköl: This class represents the stronger beers with alcohol contents of more than 3.5%. As mentioned earlier, these beers can be bought only from the Systembolaget stores. Remember that, you can buy these beers only if you are 20 years and above.
  • Mellanöl: This is a special case which represents the beers of medium strength (3.5 to 4.5%). In fact, these beers don’t exist as a beer class anymore in the country. If you are placing an order for mellanöl, you would be served with a beer, which has alcohol more probably a lättöl.

Alcohol and Distilleries

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Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam


I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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