12th April 2011, 00:20~00:40
Alcohol content: 4.7%
Price: 69NOK (€8.70) for 330ml bottle
Overall verdict : Norwegian law fetishises alcohol
Norway is a nation of alcoholics which would descend into a Maelström of drunkenness were it not for the strict control of booze.
That seems to be the message from the Norwegian government, and the relationship between Norwegians and alcohol does seem to be a complex one.
The list of obstacles put between a man and his right to get shitfaced starts with the unbelievable prices (see above), and includes restrictions on when it can be sold in shops (until 8pm on a weekday, until 6pm at the weekend), where it can be sold (only in Vinomonopolet government monopoly outlets for wines and spirits), and where it can be consumed (not in public).
I flew in to Oslo airport at 11:30pm, and rushed to get to the car rental before it shut. But it seemed every other passenger on that plane had another more pressing errand to perform before leaving Gardermoen, namely picking up their ration of duty free Aquavit before they went through Norwegian immigration.
I’d witnessed similar scenes of Norwegian panic alcohol purchasing on a previous trip, where I wondered into a train-station off-licence at 7:50pm on a week-night and had to fight through an almighty scrum to get my can of Borg, which I went on to consume (illegally) on the train to the airport.
But just as smokers feel obliged to have a cigarette whenever there’s an opportunity, perhaps these regulations are driving people more to grab every chance to buy alcohol, rather than discourage it…