Playing Swedish Monopoly
April 1st 2008 was a big day for BrewDog. It was the day Punk IPA was first launched in the Swedish alcohol monopoly known as the Systembolaget. Since then the Systembolaget has rapidly grown to become the brewery’s largest single customer on the planet.
The Systembolaget is a government-owned chain of alcohol retail stores (418 at the last count) that are the only places in Sweden where you can buy any alcoholic drink above 3.5% ABV outside of pubs, bars and restaurants.
Understanding how the monopoly works is pretty critical to the success of our export business so our Scandinavian Top Dog Darren Packman took a time-out to explain just how you play the monopoly game.
“The Systembolaget is essentially made up of modules, starting from the beställningssortimentet (the ‘ordering range’ which customers can buy from but which you never actually see in the stores) and then there are seven ‘levels’ of availability starting from T9,T7,T5, T3, T2, T1 and finally BASE. I won’t go into too much detail here (it is likely to give you a headache) but basically the lower the number the higher the number of Systembolaget stores your beer goes on sale in.
“So, for example, if you have a T3 listing your beer is available in around 65 stores while if you manage to get a BASE listing you’ve hit the jackpot and your beer is on the shelves of every store throughout the country.
“Qualifying for a level depends on the size of the tenders the Systembolaget puts out for new beers every year, with tenders for T1 and BASE listings commonly the ones most fought over by breweries.
“Punk IPA went in at T1 and if things go according to plan this year we’ll be knocking at the door of a BASE listing come April.
Punk IPA selling well in Sweden. It is now the 5th best selling ale there.
“There is though another way – and that’s starting off at the bottom and slugging your way to the top!
“That’s exactly what we did with Hardcore IPA and Tokyo* which both entered the Systembolaget in the ordering range and because of awesome sales qualified their way up into T9 where they are now collectively available to buy on the shelves of around 30 stores.
“We’re also hoping the only way is up with 5AM Saint which is currently available to buy in the ordering range in cases of 12 bottles but which we hope with the support of BrewDog drinkers in Sweden will prove itself worthy of getting onto the shelves of the monopoly on a permanent basis.
“5AM Saint is the second best-selling beer in BrewDog’s core range in the UK and so we’re really looking forward to trying to replicate that success here in Sweden”.
Swedish customers can look forward to finding Lost Dog, Paradox Jura, Hops Kill ? , AB08 and a special Sweden only mixed 4 pack consisting of Chaos Theory, Dogma, 5am Saint and Alice Porter on the shelves in Systembolaget soon.
In addition the following beers are permanently available in stores: Punk IPA, Trashy Blonde, Rip Tide, Nanny State, Zeitgeist, Hardcore IPA, Tokyo* with 5am Saint now available in the ordering range.
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& do you ship to the USA, eh? -- Big Rbigrinvegas28.01.2012
- Ben H - many thanks my friend. Will try and get some when I'm up in 4 weeks time on my annual pilgrimage to Murrayfield. Appreciate your information. arobertson28.01.2012
- At this moment there is 1251 beers in the Systembolaget if you count the beers you are able to order. It's alot BUT I can not be possitive about the goverment who wants to dictate all conditions. For example, you can't visit a brewery for a tour and then buy a 6pack on your way home. Malt Porter27.01.2012
- Beer exports are Important because it brings in Money and also if a certain amount of people in other countries drink Brewdog beer it would upper their reputation in their struggle against the companies that realy couldn't give a shit about their beer only the money they get from it! Davidsmmrs4527.01.2012
- @arobertson paradox Jura has been bottled for uk consumption. It is available in many of edinburghs bottle shops right now. Pop in to Great Grog on St Leonards St when you are here or the brewdog bar will sort iu out with some BenH27.01.2012
- Thanks Bogus for that info, but are we going to be getting Jura in botles here in the UK? We've been promised this beer for almost a year now and I love the Paradox range. Some of that brand was brewed for export only (why??) as there are many of us in the UK who would like to sample as many of them as possible. If it is not going to be bottled for domestic consumption then can someone please let us know! I am going to Murrayfield on 26 Feb for the France game and am planning to visit Brewdog Edinburgh for a hopeful taste but bottles please....NOW!! arobertson27.01.2012
- But at least they sell Brewdog!
- Fair enough if the system works and the consumers don't mind. I live in a city with at least 5 well stocked bottle shops, all with a different selection and all getting new beers in all the time from all over the world. I'd be gutted if it was any other way. I love the idea of drinking new beer every week and always having the newest and best beers in the world available to me. BenH27.01.2012
I must say that I really like systembolaget. Their opening hours maybe be a bit frustrating at times but I've never seen stores with the amount of brews (and wine) available outside of Sweden.nisse27.01.2012
- arobertson: take a look at http://casksweden.se/
It's the importer for brewdog in sweden.Bogus27.01.2012
- Sounds like a bit of a shit system. The government dictates what beer is available. There must be thousands of beers unavailable to the swedish people just because the government says no. What is their process for deciding what gets sold? Bribes? Cronnyism? I also don't see any logical reason for this system. What's wrong with an open market? BenH27.01.2012
- yay, more brewdog for Sweden!
I got very lucy the other day when I tried a Systembolaget store I hadn't visited before and found two bottles of Tokyo! Though it said that that particular store wont take in any more Tokyo, so I hope that does not mean it has lost its T9 rating... maybe they just swap the stores that has the different ratings every year or so.
- I'm Swedish and immensely grateful for your presence at Systembolaget (a monopoly I fully support, btw) :D
I'm one soul very much responsible for the dent in their BrewDog storage, at all times. So thank you so much for going through the trouble entering the Swedish market.Ayram27.01.2012
- Love Swedish words that sound as if you know what they mean, even though you don't - beställningssortimentet. It's like an anagram of best all round assortment.
I went to Stockholm's largest systembolaget at 8pm on New Year's Eve once. Absolute madnessBeerCast Rich27.01.2012
- Hear hear! Are there any plans to bring Rip Tide and Nanny State to English shelves? JamesO27.01.2012
- Sweden will be getting Paradox Jura then? So when are we going to be seeing this much waited-for stout appearing in the online shop? Come on Brewdog, sort it out please as I'm gagging (and also quite thirsty....) arobertson27.01.2012