Systembolaget has registered yet another monthly drop in sales. The state alcohol retailing monopoly said yesterday that total alcohol sales for April fell by 7.7% year-on-year.

While spirits sales fell by 18.3%, wine sales also dropped for the month, by 4.9%. Sales of strong beer, the only type of beer Systembolaget sells, followed suit and decreased by 4.9%.

Once again, sales fell markedly in the Vastra Gotland and Varmland counties, which are close to the border with Norway, and in Norrbotten county, near the border with Finland. Systembolaget attributed the decrease to higher alcohol excise duties in Sweden, compared to neighbouring Denmark and Finland.

In October last year, Denmark cut its alcohol tax by 47%. Finland followed suit, cutting tax on alcohol by 40% at the beginning of last month. Both countries decided on the move pending the imminent accession of Poland and the Baltic states to the EU. The former Eastern Bloc countries all have lower alcohol prices than Scandinavia.

The Swedish government was reported earlier this week to be considering reducing taxes on alcohol in the country.