A powerful friend in Stockholm quietly let me in on a secret: there are 20 people who make all the big decisions in Sweden and pull all the puppet strings. A various stages of our business we have felt the slap of the puppet’s hand and the kick of its wooden leg in the hope of stopping wine lovers from having legal access to quality wine. But for every cold wooden kick and slap we get 1000 warm handshakes and hugs from our growing army of members that is now well over 45.000 strong. We don’t feel so lonely in our battle against the puppets of KF and Posten.
This has already been an eventful month (besides it being the birth month of our children).
- We completely stopped selling via Systembolaget and closed our Stockholm warehouse: now we control the whole service experience
- We re-launched Malmö Aviation Wine Club www.malmoaviationwineclub.se with direct delivery to an overwhelming response from this great airline’s frequent flyer members. Well done Mia-Li, you have done a great job launching this new site.
- Australian Wine Club continues to grow like our glasshouse tomato bushes in the summer. March will be our best sales month ever thanks to all our members’ support.
- Vinfynda will soon be resurected from the dead and incorporated in Australian Wine Club where great value discounted wine can be found with home delivery.
- I met some incredibly intelligent and articulate people who understand and support what we are doing. The fact that organisations like Timbro and magazines like Neo exist in Sweden gives us hope that free markets and entrepreneurs have a future here.
- The phones of our wine advisors, under the management of the wonderfully patient and encouraging Maria, are ringing hot and members are really appreciating the service and new way to order wine. I was amused to see that Systembolaget has taken expensive full page newspaper advertisements to let us know that they have copied our wine advisor idea. But we don’t make you feel guilty about buying wine when you call us! When will the government stop monopolies from advertising to support their own monopoly – surely this is a political matter.
- The spring range of wines has just been finalised and includes our first South American wines (bring on the Argentinian Malbec), great value Chianti and Rioja and more Keith Tulloch wines. We shopped up the entire remaining supply of the all-time-member’s favourite wines, Fire Block Shiraz and Grenach. That, along with some very exciting new wines from New Zealand and Australia will make the spring sunny regardless of the weather!
- James and Jimmy are soon off to Pro Wein, the huge international wine fair in Germany, where we hope to find more pearls for the summer and autumn. Any requests?
- To all our industry colleagues who have recently lost their jobs due to Systembolaget’s refusal to increase wine prices due to the severe slump in the € to the SEK, we hope you get back on your feet soon. Can someone explain to me why a monopoly that is supposed to discourage alcohol consumption insists on making its suppliers subsidise alcohol consumers? If it were truly following its remit it would see this as an opportunity to increase prices and reduce sales. However, when all other products purchased from Europe and the US are rising in price, we can thank the monopoly for keeping prices artificially low at the cost of lost jobs in the alcohol importing industry. I suggest that SORAD conduct a study to calculate how many extra sick days will be taken due to the artificially low price of alcohol. The Russian government subsidises vodka, the Swedish State subsidises all alcohol!
- Watch out for next week’s news, it is sure to bring a smile to your face!