Swedish Cider

Swedish cider: Everything you need to know about cider from Sweden

Swedish ciders are in hot demand across the world, and drinks of this kind are often associated with the taste of summer. Many people associate the sweetness of Swedish cider with a soft drink, and it’s particularly popular with younger people. 

Cider from Sweden has a unique flavor that is drastically different from brands you’ll find around the world. Its ingredients are slightly different, too, as is the production process. The history of Swedish cider is complex, and it’s a much newer phenomenon than beer. 

This article will tell you everything you need to know about cider from Sweden. You’ll learn about the history behind one of the world’s favorite sweet alcoholic beverages, along with which countries enjoy what many would argue is the best cider in the world. 

We’ll also discuss how you can buy the drink in Sweden, plus much more. And so, without further ado, let’s jump in.

What is Swedish cider?

When we talk about Swedish cider, we refer to all forms of this drink that are produced by Swedish cider brands. To this day, many of the most reputable companies still make their drinks in Scandinavia’s largest country — before shipping their beverages to other parts of the globe. 

Swedish cider is usually made using water from the country, which regularly ranks as some of the purest in the world. You will find multiple varieties of cider, but Swedish hard cider isn’t too common. 

Instead, you’ll find various softer versions. If you’re not really into drinking alcohol, you can also find various non-alcoholic editions of Swedish cider. 

The base process of making Swedish cider isn’t too different from what you’ll find in other countries. Typically, you will use the juice from wild fruit, such as berries and Swedish apples. The main difference between cider from Sweden and beverages in other countries is that the spring water used is Swedish. 

You will find Swedish cider in various forms of packaging. Generally speaking, you can get it from a glass bottle if you purchase it at a beer garden or pub. And if you go to a liquor store or supermarket (if your country permits alcohol sales in the latter), you can find bottles and pack cans. 

Another recent innovation is the idea of ice cider, which Kopparberg — one of the most significant Swedish cider brands — introduced in 2015. 

Swedish cider alcohol percentages range. Some are 4% and lower, but you’ll also find those that have around 7% in volume. 

Swedish Cider

What are the origins of Swedish cider?

Generally speaking, alcohol in Sweden has had a complex history. In the early 20th century, the Temperance Movement was strong here; before that, Swedes had been heavy drinkers. 

For most of modern history, Swedish alcohol sales have been much more restricted than in countries elsewhere. In fact, it was only in 1995 — when Sweden joined the European Union (EU) — that the country stopped having an alcohol monopoly (though you do still have state-run liquor stores today). 

As such, Swedish cider is something that’s still in its early days. Innovators had tried to bring the drink to the country before that, with Kopparberg producing their first cider beverages in 1930. But since beer was in higher demand, it never really took off at that time. 

Things took a turn for the better toward the end of the 20th century. Shortly after Kopparberg kickstarted itself in the 1990s, its new owners opted to reintroduce the previously-unsuccessful cider to the market. After a refreshing of the recipe, the drink was relaunched in the country. 

Within the first year of relaunching its cider, Kopparberg had a c.$14 million turnover. Needless to say, that was the catalyst for Swedish ciders to really make their mark. 

In 1996, another major Swedish cider brand joined the party: Rekorderlig. The company was founded in Vimmerby, a small town in Southern Sweden that was also the birthplace of Astrid Lindgren — one of the country’s greatest-ever writers.  

One year after Kopparberg took the Swedish market by storm, it looked at where Swedes regularly go on holiday. One popular destination is Greece, and the brand exported its drinks to the Southern European country. 

Since Kopparberg and Rekorderlig rekindled the Swedish cider scene, the drink has expanded to multiple European countries and nations further afield. You will also find a whole host of different flavors available today.

What makes Swedish cider unique?

Several things make cider from Sweden unique. The main one is something we mentioned earlier, which is that the drinks typically use pure spring water from the country. To this day, for example, Rekorderlig’s producers continue to use water from the Vimmerby region for their drinks. 

Doing so allows them to provide an authentic flavor from the region.

Another thing you’ll notice about Swedish cider is how it tastes. Many ciders in other countries are sweet, but they’re a little more subdued. On the other hand, Cider from Sweden has a much sweeter taste — and you might sometimes forget that you’re consuming an alcoholic beverage. 

When drinking cider produced in Sweden, you will also find a broad range of flavors available. We’ve seen this phenomenon spread to other alcoholic drinks in recent years, with craft beers adopting a similar trend. While apple cider is common, you can enjoy various alternative tastes if that’s your preference.

Swedish Cider

What Swedish cider flavors exist?

Swedes are proud innovators, with some of the world’s biggest game-changers — such as Spotify — originating in the country. And you can see that desire to change things very clearly when you look at what Swedish cider brands have managed to come up with. 

One of the most popular flavors is mixed fruit, which consists of various berries. Kopparberg particularly excels in this respect. 

In recent years, an alternative to the standard mixed fruit flavor — which features tropical fruits instead — has gone onto the market. Mango and passionfruit are both present in this one. 

Pear cider brands have also made their mark in Sweden, with options available in this respect. Cherry is another popular Swedish cider flavor, and so is strawberry and lime. 

Wild berries is another flavor that many cider-lovers will turn to. Other intriguing flavors, such as passionfruit and mango-raspberry, have also found their way onto the market. 

Swedish cider brands have many of these flavors for their alcohol-free drinks.

Is cider popular in Sweden?

Since some of the world’s most popular cider brands come from Sweden, it’s natural that you might think that the drink is popular in the country. But how true is this? 

The answer is that it depends. If you go to a Swedish house party, you probably won’t see a huge amount of cider. Instead, you’ll notice a lot of the standard Swedish beers — and the same is true if you go to a bar or nightclub. Red wine is also popular in the country, even though the price range is usually high. 

Having said that, you can still purchase the drinks — as we’ll discuss in greater detail later. 

Generally speaking, cider is popular among younger generations of Swedes. Due to its (often) lower alcohol percentages and tolerable taste, many people will consume these drinks before changing to beer. This is a similar trend that you will find in other European countries, such as the UK. 

If we were to answer this question in the simplest way possible, we’d say: it depends on who you ask. Some Swedes love cider, while others aren’t the biggest fan. You might also notice a lot of Swedish people drinking cider from their homeland while abroad, which could come from a sense of familiarity. 

Generally speaking, you’ll probably notice more cider on a hot summer’s day than you would in the depth of winter. Since public drinking is not allowed, however, you will need to go to or walk past a pub, restaurant, or bar to observe. 

Is Swedish cider popular in the other Nordic countries? 

Swedish cider has enjoyed unprecedented success in other countries. Many of those countries, however, are not close by. If you go to the other Nordic countries, you will notice that fewer people consume Swedish cider than you might think. 

Granted, you can find major Swedish cider brands in various Danish supermarkets. You will also notice them if you go to some of the bars in the country’s major cities. But apart from that, you’ll have to try a little harder to find it. 

If you go to Norway, Finland, or Iceland, you will similarly notice that Swedish cider isn’t overly popular. You can find the major brands in some instances, but not many of the locals consume the stuff. 

For any drinks above a certain percentage, you will also need to visit a state-run liquor store in each of the above-mentioned countries to find your Swedish cider. Doing so is simple; you will often notice the Swedish flag next to the drink on the shelf. 

Swedish Cider

Which non-Nordic countries enjoy Swedish cider the most?

Swedish cider has made significant moves across the world; if you ask people what they first think of when you say “Sweden”, many will mention the beverage. One could put a very strong case forward that, like IKEA, Swedish cider is actually more popular outside of Sweden than inside. 

Cider from Sweden is particularly popular in the UK, which is where many major Swedish brands have a stronghold. Rekorderlig, for example, sponsored Huddersfield Town — a soccer team currently playing in the Championship — from 2012 to 2015. 

Moreover, the company has a pop-up tent in London that opens every summer. 

If you go into a UK grocery store, you will find several flavors of Swedish cider. And if you go across the Atlantic, you will also find many US states where you can purchase drinks of this kind. 

Cider is a popular drink throughout the country, and it more than holds its own among the many beer brands you’ll find across the United States. 

Another country where you’ll find Swedish cider is New Zealand. Rekorderlig is also a sponsor of the National Kubb event in that country; the game is also popular in Scandinavia and known as Kongespil.

As you might have expected, Swedish cider is popular in destinations frequented by the people living in its core markets. You’ll find several flavors of the drink in multiple Southern European countries, for example, including Spain and Portugal. 

However, you will only really notice it in touristy destinations — as most locals will consume beverages from that region instead. 

Other countries where you’ll find Swedish cider include: 

  • Australia 
  • South Africa 
  • Germany
  • France
  • Kazakhstan

Where in Sweden can you buy Swedish cider?

If you plan to visit Sweden at some point, you will probably want to try Swedish cider in its natural habitat. However, alcohol sales in the country will probably differ a little from where you’re based. As such, understanding where you can — and cannot — buy Swedish cider is a good idea. 

When buying alcohol in Sweden, you cannot purchase any beverages that are over 3.5% from a grocery store. Instead, you will need to go to Systembolaget — the state-run liquor store. 

Here, you will find a wide selection of cider brands from the country — including a mixture of established and lesser-known ones. 

You will find Systembolaget stores in most major cities throughout the country, with a significant number throughout Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. Systembolaget is also available in the majority of Swedish towns. 

When going to a Systembolaget store, remember that it is closed on Sunday. You will also have reduced opening hours on public holidays, so it’s important that you check these up beforehand. 

If you’re out and about, you will find Swedish cider at most bars throughout the country. Similarly, you can purchase the drink when you’re at a restaurant; cider from Sweden often features on the menu. 

When buying cider in Sweden, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old.

Swedish Cider
Credit: Andrew McKenna

Is Rekorderlig actually Swedish?

Rekorderlig is one of the most popular cider brands worldwide, and it prides itself on sticking to its Swedish roots. If you were wondering whether that was a marketing ploy or not, we could confirm that the company is indeed from Sweden. 

Despite growing into the huge brand we see today, Rekorderlig continues to produce its cider in Scandinavia’s largest country. It has distributors in different nations, but the drink you get is made in Sweden. 

Today, it’s owned by Åbro Bryggeri. 

What are the most popular Swedish cider brands?

While Rekorderlig is one of the most popular Swedish brands, you will find a selection of others that have made serious moves in the global market. One that you are almost certainly familiar with is Kopparberg, which really kicked off the Swedish cider revolution. 

Kopparberg has actually been around for over a century, but it focused much of its earlier efforts on beer. In recent years, it has brought multiple innovations to the market, including flavored gin and vodka alongside its cider offerings. 

Herrljunga Cider is another brand from the country, and it focuses mainly on drinks with a low alcohol percentage. If you want to enjoy the Swedish summer, it’s not the worst option.

Cider from Sweden 

Swedish cider is popular worldwide, but it’s not as common in Sweden as you might think. Swedish cider is, however, one of the country’s greatest gifts to the globe. 

Is it the best cider in the world? Quite possibly. Having the Swedish flag on your packaging is a seal of social proof in many countries, and as such, it’s unsurprising that many cider brands have proudly expressed their heritage. 

From Swedish pear cider to various other flavors, you’ll find something that meets your tastes. 

Cider from Sweden is often sweeter than what you’ll find in many other countries, making it a great option if you don’t like the taste of beer. 

You can also enjoy non-alcoholic versions if you do not want to consume alcohol. Your friends might not view it as an adult beverage, but if you enjoy the taste, who cares?

Stick with us for a follow-on article that will look at the most popular Swedish cider brands in more detail. 

In the meantime, why not learn all about beer from Sweden? We’ve written a full guide to the most popular breweries in the country, ranging from traditional lagers to craft beers, pale ales, double IPA, and more. 

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