Saturday Morning at the Systembolaget

| januari 28, 2013

The moment I realised what we had achieved was the moment I remembered what day it was.

SB WhiteRoom

The inner sanctum where every beer gets tasted to see if it complies with the monopoly’s tender. Very few make it out of here ‘alive’!

‘We’ were a multinational group of members from the Scandinavian Beer Writers’ Association, or SÖF for short, gathered around a table at the Systembolaget’s elegant HQ in the centre of Stockholm.

In front of us stood a welcoming committee of five very influential monopoly people. The sort of people that have a big say in the types of beers you and me get to pour into our glasses.

And they were listening intently to us. On a Saturday morning in Stockholm. Because of you.

To understand the significance of this moment you need to rewind the clock back almost a year to a cold, blustery day in Eskilstuna when a handful of beer writers met to start a small association with big ambitions.

We realised back then that not many people were taking beer as seriously as we were. We recognised that there was a black hole of knowledge about beer in the mainstream media and had a belief that our voice, which because of your support was getting stronger by the month, would resonate more loudly if we could somehow combine forces.

On that day we founded SÖF and since then we’ve been recruiting other beer communicators from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland who share our common goal of getting more quality coverage of our favourite drink out there.

And now here we were, 12 months later, sitting in the heart of the monopoly, being shown the inner workings of the big machine.

I won’t go into detail about the hours we spent in there right now. We’ll save that for another post. But trust me we learnt stuff. Really interesting stuff. Like how the Systembolaget is changing the way its stores react to what you want to drink in a very real way.

Like how despite layers of departments, strategies, marketing models and buzzwords what it all boils down to is that a group of around 15 Systembolaget tasters sitting in a sterile room effectively decide what beers you get to drink.

Like how beers will be getting half the time to prove themselves on the shelves than they used to have. Sell enough and they stay. Not enough and they’re out.

We were being told all this by this country’s most influential force in the alcohol industry.

And it was a Saturday morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: Articles in English, Senaste Nytt

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