Never before has Norway’s state-controlled liquor store chain Vinmonopolet sold so many liters of wine, liquor, strong beer and even non-alcoholic beverages as in 2021. With bars and restaurants closed for lengthy periods during the pandemic, or having to stop serving drinks early, many Norwegians have been drinking more at home and it’s been more difficult to drive over the border to shop in cheaper Sweden.
“It was a busy year last year, and this year things have really been rolling,” Wenche Skogheim, manager of the Vinmonopolet store in the popular mountain town of Geilo, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). It’s seen its sales skyrocket since more Norwegians are spending more time at their holiday homes like mountain cabins, and even working digitally from them during the pandemic. She reported a big increase in sales of bubbly, and expensive wine.
Jens Nordahl, communications chief for Vinmonopolet, said sales had risen to 116.4 million liters as of December 23, up from last year’s record of 113.6 million. “We’re selling more than during the Corona year of 2020, it’s been an enormous jump in business for the entire company,” Nordahl said.
Sales are expected to hit 118 million for the year, and Nordahl thinks it’s a record that will stand, given hopes that Corona-related restrictions are expected to decline next year and borders are likely to be easier to cross. That means Vinmonopolet may once again lose sales to Sweden or to tax-free shopping abroad if travel picks up.