Up until 1995, Systembolaget held the monopoly for all alcoholic beverages over 2,25 vol. %, as concerns import-export, retailing, production and distribution. However, these restrictions excluded beer which could be produced by those licensed. In 1995 when the monopoly was abolished in all aspects except retailing.
Since there is still a retailing monopoly, the general Swedish consumer has to rely on the Systembolaget stores for the purchase of alcoholic beverages.
The retailing monopoly also restricts the importers from carrying out any marketing campaigns in the stores.
There are approx. 400 stores and 800 distribution facilities through-out the country. The opening hours vary somewhat, but generally all stores are open from 10.00 to 18.00 Monday through Friday, and 10.00 to 15.00 on Saturdays. The legal drinking age is 18, but you have to be 20 years old to buy alcoholic beverages at Systembolaget. Customers that are clearly under the influence of any kind of substance will be denied purchasing alcohol. Obvious attempts to buy on behalf of minors or people under the influence will also be denied.
Systembolaget does not have a central stock of all their products. Instead, they place their orders through the importer's central warehouse, and are serviced by daily distribution directly to their stores.SYSTEMBOLAGET'S IMPORT AND LAUNCH STRATEGIES
The import and launch strategies are determined centrally at Systembolaget's headquarters, and not at store level. The general strategy is to introduce both temporary offerings as well as products for the main assortment. To give importers and producers a better idea of what Systembolaget are planning to introduce, a launch strategy is released twice a year, which indicates the types and styles of products that will be particularly interesting.
Once a month, all importers receive a more detailed request for information compiled by the purchase officers at Systembolaget, where they specify exactly what they are looking to introduce on the market about six months from the request: Red wine, made solely on Cabernet Sauvignon, fruity but without notes of jam, aged on oak barrels etc... After having considered all incoming offers, they start asking for tasting
samples of the most interesting products. The temporary products are only purchased at the quantity that was specified in the request, and are not likely to be introduced again unless there is a new general request for the exact product that we can offer.
The products for the strategic introductions are purchased and launched twice a year, in April and October, with the aim that they will be part of the main assortment, provided that they sell well enough.
THE TASTING PROCEDURE
The sample tastings are divided according to products of the same reference number, as specified in the request (category, style, variety or type) and after each tasting, the results are sent out to the importer (order or rejection). This can be a slow process, and it may take 2-6 weeks before we have the results.
If a product offered for the main assortment is rejected, the producer - through the importer - can register it for a second tasting to give it a new chance to be introduced in the same assortment. These tastings are arranged twice a year by ordinary consumers (the so called consumer panel for the test assortment).
This however requires an admission fee of 1000 Euro per product, and also new samples of the previously offered product.
The submission dates for both offers and product samples are not flexible, and any offer or sample that is not delivered to Systembolaget in time will be rejected. Systembolaget does not reimburse either producer or importer for the samples sent.
THE ON TRADE MARKET
The on trade market is not controlled by Systembolaget, and any licensed importer is free to sell and distribute alcoholic beverages to restaurants and etc. without the involvement of Systembolaget.
In the on trade market, the beer consumption far exceeds the wine or spirits consumption, and the total market shares for wine on the alcohol market amount to approx. 15 %.İcarovin ab.
CAROVIN AB, BOX 24005, 104 50 STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN. PHONE: +46 8-505 515 00 FAX: +46 8 651 09 96