Playing Swedish Monopoly
an update from BrewDog's Darren
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.