The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 17 November 2021

Medium-strong beer - description of serving and retail trade

The alcoholic beverage called medium-strong beer (in Swedish folköl) is defined in Chapter 1 Section 8 of the Alcohol Act (2010:1622). Medium-strong beer is produced by fermentation with dried or roasted malt. The alcoholic strength exceeds 2.25 but not 3.5 per cent by volume of alcohol. No licence is required to sell medium-strong beer, but both serving and retail must be notified to the municipality in advance and there are requirements for the premises.

Sales of medium-strong beer amounted to approximately 5.5 per cent of total registered sales of alcoholic beverages in Sweden in 2018 (measured in litres of 100 per cent alcohol per inhabitant aged 15 and over). According to data reported by the municipalities, there were about 6,200 outlets selling medium- strong beer in 2018.

Retail with medium-strong beer

Premises where retail with medium-strong beer takes place must be registered as a food facility in the municipality in which the business is conducted. The shop shall be intended for the permanent sale of food, and food products shall also be sold there.

Serving of medium-strong beer

In the case of serving of medium-strong beer, the premises must be registered as a food facility in the municipality where the activity is carried out and suitable for permanent activities involving food. Food must be served at the same time. A person with a licence to serve alcohol may also serve medium-strong beer, since the licence already complies with the Alcohol Act's rules on serving permits.

Medium-strong beer may also be served without a licence in the following situations:

  1. Service on a single occasion for predetermined persons,
  2. without a profit-making interest and at no cost to the participants other than the cost of purchasing the drinks and
  3. in premises where there is no professional sale of alcoholic or light beverages.

All requirements in points 1-3 shall be fulfilled simultaneously in order for the exemption provision to apply.

Service may also be done without a licence to the residents and their visitors at such special accommodations as provide a meal service.

Notification to the municipality

Before starting to retail or serve medium-strong beer, notification must be made to the municipality where the retail or service is to take place. It is the person who runs the activity who is required to notify.

Self-monitoring

Retailers and those who perform service of medium-strong beer shall perform a special form of control, self-monitoring, of sales. For self-monitoring, he or she must produce a self-monitoring programme. The programme shall, among other things, describe the procedures to be applied to the sale and service of medium-strong beer.

The purpose of a self-monitoring programme is to support the point of sale or catering establishment in order to ensure that the provisions of the Alcohol Act will be complied with. It provides security for both the responsible persons and their employees. A self-monitoring programme is also an important basis for the municipality in the event of a supervisory contact. The municipality can provide information on the sales regulations and on the obligation to have specific control over the sale and serving of medium-strong beer.

Supervision

The Public Health Agency and the respective County Administrative Board have supervisory responsibility at national and regional level. The municipality and the Police Authority are supervisory authorities within the municipality. This means that both the municipality and the police exercise supervision and check that sales and service do not violate the provisions of the Alcohol Act. The police's main task is to intervene against crime. The municipality's task is mainly preventive. The municipality may issue a warning or a ban on selling medium-strong beer if the provisions of the Alcohol Act are not complied with. The municipality may also charge a supervisory fee to the person running the sale of medium-strong beer.

Self-monitoring programme for medium-strong beer sales

Those who engage in the sale of medium-strong beer shall perform self-monitoring of sales and assume responsibility for the operation having an appropriate self-monitoring programme.
The Public Health Agency has developed an example of a self-monitoring programme that is intended to be a support and help for municipalities in their supervisory role. Today, many municipalities have their own forms.

Self-monitoring programme (Word, 116 KB)

The self-monitoring programme in word is locked, but the document can be unlocked if, for example, you want to add your own municipality's name and emblem or enter other information.

How to unlock the word document

  1. Download the word document
  2. Under the Review menu, click Restrict Editing
  3. In the column on the right, select Stop protection.

Instructions for mounting logo (PDF, 93 KB)

Web tests

Interactive knowledge tests on medium-strong beer and tobacco sales and age control. Best used together with the brochures above.

Learn more about web tests