An Investigation into Bheer

By Ahrvid Enghom: What fuels science fiction and its fandom? Easy: bheer! (Yes, I spell it that way.)

Sweden has a complicated relationship to bheer. Strong bheer was actually banned until the rationing book (“motboken”) system on alcohol was scrapped in 1955, but you could buy weaker pilsner lager. When stronger bheer became legal people ordered “a strong bheer” in the pubs and even “a big strong one” (“en stor stark”).

Few Swedish pubs offer “a pint”. You order “en stor stark”. The problem is that there’s no definition of how “big” (“stor”) such a bheer is! The local paper Mitt i Södermalm has rushed to rescue, and put their top investigative reporters on the problem: how big is “a big strong one”?

In its latest issue, February 6, they have measured the liquid contents of “en stor stark” on 100 Stockholm pubs.

Should you come to a convention in Stockholm (the next one is Fantastika/Swecon June 16-18, ) you may benefit from the following statistics:

  • The biggest big strong one was 57 cl (72 SEK) or a pint – yes, you can get those, and it was of course served on the English-style pub The Tudor Arms on Grev Street.

  • The smallest big strong one was 25 cl (40 SEK), and the place to avoid is Habibi on Skåne Street,

  • The most expensive one costed 89 SEK (around 10 Euros) for 40 cl and if you’ve just signed a golden book contract you can waste your money at Proviant on Sture Street.

  • The cheapest one costed just 25 SEK (40 cl) at Lion Bar on Långholms Street. Overjoyed fans are seen checking their maps – and the closest Metro station is Hornstull.

  • The AVERAGE big strong bheer (from the 100 tested) was 41.64 cl, and the average price was 61.64 SEK (slightly less than 6 Euros).

  • The paper also calculated the alcohol/SEK (alcohol per Swedish crown). 1 cl of alcohol costs 29.36 SEK (ca 3 Euros) on average.

  • The best alcohol/SEK is to be found at D-Pub Klosterkeller on Horns Street, which by offering 50 cl for just 30 SEK (ca 3 Euros) gives you 1 cl of alcohol for 12 SEK (ca 1.2 Euro). All of fandom cheers!

Everything from this important feat of investigative journalism when it at its best can be found here: It’s in Swedish, but if you have a few strong ones, that will not be a problem.

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5 thoughts on “An Investigation into Bheer

  1. Interesting article. Thanks! Seems beer… *ahem* bheer prices in Stockholm are roughly the same as in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  2. That seems a bit pricey by local standards, at least for ordinary-to-moderate beers; OTOH, I’m on the edge of a student area, which may affect the numbers. I’ve been amused by international slanging over beer; the Tuborg brewery told our tour (1964?) that they had a huge sign facing across the strait to incite Swedish envy, but the Copenhagen bid in 1979 was said to have disgraced itself at least partly because beer was so much cheaper in Brighton.

  3. As I remember it during the 80s, there was almost a Swedish duty to drink as much as you possibly could when the beer was cheap. I do hope this has changed, if I understand correctly drinking has gone down a lot in Sweden.

    Otherwise, Ahrvid knows his bheer. I should know as we used to frequent the same club for several years. What is not said in the text is that while beer was not available for the common people before 1955, it was possible to buy it at the pharmacy if you had a recipe. It was seen as unusable for drinking, but good enough for medicine.

  4. Unusable for drinking? I guess Sweden’s water is much better than average; small beer used to be a way of supplying germ-free fluid. Or was the unfitness a recent turn?

  5. Chip Hitchcock, that’s exactly what used to happen during American Prohibition. That’s why Walgreens is such a huge pharmacy company; the got their start selling alcohol that was prescribed for “medicinal purposes”.

    Was there some sort of Prohibition (ban on alcohol) in Sweden in the 1950s?

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