Sweden Raises Taxes on Alcohol to Fund Its Defence Build-Up

In the words of Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, the new tax will make you “feel that you’re doing a good deed having your Friday beer”.

The Swedish government has raised alcohol taxes with the aim of kickstarting the economy and funding the country’s military strategy, that includes a major defence beef-up.

Together with an increased tax on cigarettes, smokeless tobacco snuff and nicotine products, the tax hike is expected to bring in around SEK 1 billion ($110 million).

According to the Swedish finance minister, the tax hike will help fund increased defence spending.

The new prices will come into effect from 1 January 2023, five years after the most recent alcohol tax hike.

“The alcohol tax isn’t indexed at all, so if you don’t raise it, the tax is eroded and, after all, we don’t have lower ambitions for public health,” Andersson told Expressen.

A bottle of wine is estimated to increase in price by around a krona ($0.11), liquor will cost several kronor more, and beer 0.25 more (2 cents).

So far this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and closed borders, sales of beer at Systembolaget have skyrocketed. Between January and August, Systembolaget sold 26.5 million more litres of beer and cider than during the corresponding period in 2019, earning SEK 300 million ($34 million). Sales of wine and liquor grew as well.

The tax hike has already been slammed by professionals, including Anna-Karin Fondberg, CEO of Sweden’s breweries. In her opinion piece…

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