April 26, 2004

Beer in Norway

A beer is probably an odd start to the day. Indeed, I have not enjoyed the breakfast of champions (leftover beer and a handful of chocolate chip cookies) since freshman year in college.

However, I feel compelled to share this random thought about beer and Norway. Beer holds a special place in Norwegian society. The first beer of the year taken outside when the weather is nice and taken with friends is a traditional and quite wonderful tradition. Still, with all that, the Norwegians Health Authorities are taking swift action to prevent a beer war. Retailers are lowering prices! Can't have that!

Social control over alcohol in Norway is very tight. Indeed, as a result of the high prices, every year or so someone dies from home brewing or wine making accidents -- usually from the bad hooch itself, not from the process of making it.

"The retailers cut the prices on some local beers to a point where only the state is making any money. The NOK 6.50 doesn't even cover taxes (which amount to NOK 6.61 on a 0.33-liter bottle), much less the cost of production or distribution. The retailers are absorbing the loss, figuring they'll make money elsewhere by luring customers into the stores. Norway has the highest beer taxes in Europe, equal to NOK 19.70 per liter. Denmark, by comparison, charges NOK 3.75 per liter."

And I used to jokingly refer to Norway as the land of the ten dollar beer.

Posted by Random Penseur at April 26, 2004 07:39 AM
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