I have often wondered about the logistics of the smuggling to Norway. Hard liquor is one thing, it does not take a brain surgeon to fill empty vodka bottles in bars and restaurants with bootleg substitutes. Beer, however, is more complicated.
Because it seems the smuggled beer is mostly Polish. No Norwegian labels, and the alcohol content is a bit above 5%, which is above the limit of the beers allowed to be sold in supermarkets.
But the market will find a way. The solution is the sprittaxi - the booze taxi. Among the teenagers, there are phone numbers circulating. Call them and place your order. Beer or harder stuff. And they have serious advantages over the competition:
- No questions about ID showing your age
- No restricted opening hours
- Far cheaper than the legal alternatives
A six-pack of Tyskie will set you back 100 kroner. The cheapest six-pack of beer in a shop is about 150.
There are some run down kiosks on the eastern side of town offering the same range of goods, too, according to my informant.
I am in no way encouraging this. There has been incidents of methanol poisoning in Norway fairly recently, just mention the health aspect. But one should not be too surprised that when the price gap between countries with open borders gets too big, there are obvious opportunities for bootleggers. Something for the legislators to consider.