To understand the peculiar nature of Swedes’ relationship with alcohol is a difficult task that requires a knowledge of Swedish social history going back several hundred years. However, for over 50 years, the government monopoly on the sale of alcohol has been the main weapon to mitigate the prevalence and effects of alcoholism.
The monopoly stores have the dual responsibility of selling, and at the same time discouraging the consumption of their products. One tool used is to make the shopping experience as difficult as possible. Although there should never be any tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol, there is a similar intolerance of alcohol itself in politics and public health policy that tries to portray anything to do with alcohol as shameful and irresponsible. (The Local, September 3, 2008.)
Pour a glass of wine and read Mark Majzner's Wine Freedom Weblog ("Vinfrihet" in Swedish).
I will attend a wine tasting on November 19 together with members of Vasa Order of America, lodge #452 in Gothenburg. [Editor's note: Guess the origin of the wines we will taste...]