Due to ascetic and pietistic traditions, a history of governments favouring social protection, including the protection to prevent alcoholism, Norway has some not-so-attractive limitations in freedom of consumption.
Norway has been ranked by the United Nations as best country to live in, based on several quality-of-life measures. However, I’d guess many would not like these limitations on such enjoyable drinks as beer and wine, and rather say it is reducing your quality of life.
If in Norway and you would like to buy a bottle of wine for your dinner party, you would have to find one of the outlets of the state monopoly of alcoholic drinks, the Vinmonopolet.
This is also the shop you would have to go to if you fancied a bottle of real beer (pilsner or lager) to go with your shrimps at lunchtime in the park.
The beer they sell in the supermarkets is a lighter beer, less rich in taste, and of course with less alcohol. And poor you if you intended to pick up this kind of beer in the supermarket on a Friday, after 6 pm. … At that time, the beer section would be hidden behind covers, and not available. Reason for this being that the state thinks it is more likely that you would be looking to get drunk if you buy your beer after that time and in the weekend…
And everybody knows there is lot of double standards to this. Just you take a look at the huge business in shops across the border in Sweden, or at Danish harbour shopping centres, or in the duty-free shops during and after a charter-tour to some Mediterranean country… Norwegians like to literally “fill up” their customs-quota of wine or liquors. In fact the majority would be inclined to bring more than the quota back to their land of highly taxed and controlled alcohol-consumption.