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Vinmonopolet – The Liquor Commission in Norway

I’m sure everyone has heard the rumors about the cost of alcohol in Norway, and maybe even the bedtime stories about old school moonshining.

Here in Norway, the government applies a heavy tax to items like tobacco and alcohol. Basically it’s a sin tax.

Buying Beer in Norway

You can buy beer from any grocery store in the country. However, you can only purchase beer before 8pm. You can go to a club and drink beer until 3am (or even 5am in some places), but buying beer from a grocery store is cut off at 8.

A can of beer here costs about $3 CDN. A bottle of beer costs about $5. A tallboy (.5L) can costs around $6.

If you go to a bar, you can expect to pay between kr 60 and kr 75 for a .3L or .4L beer. That is between $10 to $12.50 CDN. So, prices on beer double when you go out. I guess that’s better than Canada where they quadruple – but the base price is higher because of the taxes here.


Vinmonopolet 01 300x300 Vinmonopolet   The Liquor Commission in Norway

In Norway hard liqour and wine sales are strictly controlled by the government. You can only buy specialty beers, wine and hard liqour at a Vinmonopolet store (called the ‘Pole’ here). The stores have limited hours:

Mandag – Torsdag 10 – 18
Fredag 9 – 18
Lørdag 9 – 15

There are only two vinmonopolet stores in central Bergen – at the bus station, and by the fish market.

As you can see – if you want to get a bottle of whiskey on Saturday night, you’d best get it done before 3pm!

The extra taxes make buying items from Vinmonopolet expensive. A 1L bottle of Vodka costs a bit more than kr 400 ($70 CDN). This is approximately 2x more than you would pay in Canada.

Something Local

In Norway there is something called Vorspiel – which literally means ‘foreplay’. It’s the practice of drinking at home before going out. Everyone does it here.

If someone offers you ‘something local’ – it is moonshine, usually very potent. Moonshining is common in Norway because of the government taxes. Consume with caution!