Government-owned Systembolaget is the only retail chain in Sweden – it has 400+ stores across the country – that is allowed to sell beverages containing more than 3.5% alcohol by volume.
Systembolaget press officer Lennart Agén told us this morning: “Every product that we sell in our stores must have the right kind of labeling and that sort of thing. It’s regulated by Swedish law. That’s why we can’t accept the first kind of labeling the brewery [UK-based Robinsons] showed us.”
“But we have an ongoing discussion with them about how the labeling should be. We had a good discussion with them today, and I think we will solve the problem in a few days.”
‘Blood, knives, that sort of thing…’
Agén explained that the fairly aggressive looking skull of Iron Maiden band mascot Eddie on the beer label – pictured above – was the principal problem for Systembolaget.
“Yes, that’s true. The brewery needs to change the label a little bit – but I don’t think it’s a problem for them as I understand,” Agén said.
Asked whether fans of Iron Maiden, and potentially Trooper beer would see the action as heavy handed, and why it was a problem in Sweden and not elsewhere in the world, he added: “According to Swedish law, labeling cannot be so aggressive.
“There was a lot of blood, knives, that sort of thing. We needed something a little less aggressive.
Robinsons’ Brewery director of marketing, David Bremner, was unavailable for comment as we went to press this morning.
Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson was integral to the creation of Trooper, which went onsale in the UK last Thursday.