Statistics on alcohol sales

Updated: June 8, 2021

Next update: September 2, 2021

Alcohol consumption of wine

Selected tables and figures from this statistics

About the statistics

The figures are calculated based on figures reported to the Directorate of Customs and Excise (TAD) by businesses that pay tax on alcohol sales.

Alcoholic beverage: Each beverage with an alcohol content over 0.7 volume per cent.

Litres as sold: litres of alcoholic beverage.

Spirits: Beverage with an alcohol content of more than 22 volume per cent.

Wine: Beverage with an alcohol content of more than 4.7- and up to 22 volume per cent.

Alcopops: Beverage with an alcohol content of more than 0.7- and up to 4.7 volume per cent.

Beer: Beer with an alcohol content of more than 0.7- and up to 22 volume per cent.

Name: Statistics on alcohol sales

Topic: Wholesale and retail trade and service activities

September 2, 2021

Division for Structural Business Statistics

Publication of data at the national level only.

Earlier annually, from the first quarter of 2003 quarterly.

Not relevant

Primary data and the compiled statistics are saved on Excel-files.

Official Norwegian alcohol statistics were published as of 1910, with figures back to 1851. The purpose of the statistics is to map the development in registered turnover for alcoholic beverages in Norway.

Users include public and private sector agencies, organizations and individuals.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar.

For more information see Statistics Norway's principle of equal treatment of users

Statistic Norway's statistics on alcohol sales are related to:

The Norwegian Brewers and Soft Drink Producers' salestatistics

The state-owned wine and spirit monopoly's sales statistics

Statistics Norway's index of retail sales that shows the development in trade with beverages in specialised stores.

Statistics Norway's wholesale and retail trade sales statistics that shows turnover figures in NOK for trade with beverages in specialised stores.

The Statistics Act, paragraphs 3-2.

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The statistics comprise all alcoholic beverages that producers and importers declare liable to excise duty in the course of a quarter. The liability to pay duty arises at the import or withdrawal of alcoholic beverages from premises which the local customs have approved for the production or storage of dutiable goods. Alcohol for medicinal, technical or scientific use are not included in the figures. Alcoholic beverages that are brewed at home, purchased abroad, or smuggled into the country are also excluded.

The Customs' electronic excise duty stipulation system (AFS), the electronic tax declaration system TVINN, the state-owned wine and spirit monopoly and the Norwegian Brewers and Soft Drink Producers.

The statistics are based on a full census survey.

All producers of alcoholic beverages and importers of beverages with an alcohol content over 2.5 volume per cent must register with the local customs and send a tax declaration for each month within the 18th of the following month. The local customs registers the tax declarations in the Customs' electronic excise duty stipulation system AFS. Approximately two months after the tax declaration month Statistics Norway receives turnover figures for beer, spirits and wine per tax group from the Directorate of Customs and Excise, measured in litres as sold.

Companies which are not registered with the local customs must declare and pay taxes on alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content up to 2.5 volume per cent at import.

Statistics Norway also receives yearly figures of the average alchohol content in spirits, wine and alcopops from the state-owned wine and spirit monopoly and per tax group beer from the Norwegian Brewers and Soft Drink Producers.

Turnover measured as litres as sold

The turnover of each type of beverage is computed by adding up the amount of litres as sold from the Customs' turnover figures according to the classification of alcoholic beverages.

Turnover measured as litres pure alcohol

The turnover of spirits multiplied with the average alcohol content divided by 100, gives an estimate for the turnover measured as litres pure alcohol. The turnover of wine and alcopops measured as litres pure alcohol are calculated in the same way. For beer, Statistics Norway have information on the average alcohol content per tax group. Consequently, the total litres of pure alcohol is computed from the turnover measured as litres pure alcohol per tax group and then aggregate to total litres of pure alcohol for beer. Finally the total turnover measured as litres of pure alcohol is computed from the aggregated turnover figures for the different types of beverages.

Turnover per capita

As the turnover of alcoholic beverages rises with the number of inhabitants, the average turnover per capita 15 years and over who are registered as Norwegian residents at January 1 in the year of interest is also computed.

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The series of statistics on alcohol sales dates back to 1851, but contain a number of breaks. The most important breaks are described here.

Changes in the calculation method of the consumption of beer

From the 1980's the consumption of beer was calculated based on tax declarations from the Directorate of Customs and Excise instead of the declarations from breweries' distribution of beer, as was the case from 1913. Before that time information from county governors' five year reports were used to start with and then statements on corn set aside to malt from 1858.

Changes in the calculation of the consumption of spirits, wine and alcopops

After the prohibition against sale of spirits and fortified wine was introduced in 1917, people constantly acquired more spirits by means of medical certificate or for technical purposes, and used it as beverage. Consequently, lawful sales of spirits was included in the calculation of the total consumption of alcohol from 1921 - when its calculation was reliable - until 1931. No figures on the consumption of spirits were published for previous years during the prohibition period.

When the state-owned wine and spirit monopoly was established in 1923, it became easier to compute the consumption of spirits and wine more precisely, based on the company's import and sales statements. In previous years, production and import figures were used to compute the consumption of spirits, while the consumption of wine was considered equal to its import up until 1924.

The wholesale monopoly was, however, abolished in 1996. Statistics of wine and spirits have since then been calculated with the aid of turnover data from the Directorate of Customs and Excise. The average alcohol content is still collected from the state-owned wine and spirit monopoly and the Norwegian Brewers and Soft Drink Producers. It is used to calculate the number of litres pure alcohol sold by others than the state-owned wine and spirit monopoly. A similar break in the series exists in the calculation of the turnover of alcopops, measured as litres pure alcohol, from 2003 when alcopops became available in grocery stores.

The Customs starts using a new electronic datasystem

In 1998 the Customs started using a new electronic data system. This brought along insufficient basic data and, consequently, no statistics on alcohol sales were published this year.

In the course of the registration of tax declarations in the Customs' electronic excise duty stipulation system AFS, mehanical controls make sure codes are valid and that turnover figures are only registered on tax groups of alcoholic beverages for which the company has a licence. The system also checks the total for the registered lines of the tax declaration against the total for the tax declaration that was registered in advance. If these totals deviate, one must examine whether the local customs have registered the answer in a field incorrectly or if the company has answered the declaration faulty. Typical errors are in connection with tax type, tax group, exemption/return, number or unit. After eventual errors have been corrected, the totals will no longer deviate and the tax declaration can be approved in AFS.

The local customs carry out monthly random controls of the tax declarations to reveal errors. Companies that are chosen have to send in underlying documents for specific or all lines of the tax declaration. Errors in tax declaration data are consequently rectified in AFS.

During tax declaration in the electronic tax declaration system TVINN, especially errors in choice of commodity code can happen because a number of invoices contain insufficient information about this. There are many mechanical controls in TVINN that assure correct tax declaration. However, when errors are suspected, the tax declaration gets checked by the Customs.

Few days after the tax declaration due date, the local Customs give notice to registered companies that have not answered by phone or by e-mail. Companies that still do not reply within short notice, receive a postal reminder and have to pay penalty interest on the tax claim. If a company is repeatedly late with its tax declarations, it loses permission to have its tax claim payments postponed, as well as the right to import alcoholic beverages. All tax declarations for a period are due the 18th of the following month and will reach the local customs within the end of that month. One month later Statistics Norway receives data from the Customs' electronic excise duty stipulation system AFS. It is a rare occurance that a company does not send in a tax declaration, but can happen in connection with for example bankruptcy.

Tax data can be altered after the Directorate of Customs and Excise has sent Statistics Norway turnover data. If a company discovers an error in a tax declaration that was sent in earlier, it can send in a corrected tax declaration several years after the declaration period, but must pay penalty interest on the tax claim. Also the Customs can correct tax data after checking a company's annual accounts. The above mentioned corrections in tax data are not included in Statistics Norway's statistics on alcohol sales.

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