Buying alcohol at the supermarket
If you want to pick up some beers, cider, or pre-mixed drinks while in Oslo, you can drop into the nearest supermarket. Keep your eye on the time though as alcohol can only be sold during set times and there are no sales on Sundays. If you want something a bit stronger (higher than 4.7% ABV) you’ll need to head to Vinmonopolet or the nearest bar.
Alcohol sale times in Oslo
Beer, cider and pre-mixed drinks are sold in Oslo supermarkets during the following times (with some exceptions):
Weekdays: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturdays: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sundays & public holidays: No sales permitted.
I know it can be easy to lose track of the days when you’re travelling, but when buying booze in Norway it literally pays to be prepared. You will save significantly by purchasing your beers at the supermarket compared to a bar. If you try to buy even one second after sales close the register won’t let it happen. Hit the shop at least an hour before sales close as there can be lines, especially on Saturdays. Commit these sales times to memory to avoid crying into an expensive pint at the nearest pub.
On the days prior to some public holidays, sales stop earlier than usual:
Maundy Thursday Eve (28.03.2018): 6 p.m.
Easter Saturday (31.03.2018): 3 p.m.
Pentecost Eve (19.05.2018): 3 p.m.
Christmas Eve (24.12.2018): 3 p.m.
New Year's Eve (31.12.2018): 3 p.m.
The biggest trap here is during the Easter break. Sales close at 6 p.m. on the Wednesday, re-open on the Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., and are then closed until the Tuesday morning after Easter.
Note that these times are set by the county. If you're travelling elsewhere in Norway, to Bergen for example, the local county may have set different sales times.
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It is illegal to have sales or offers on alcohol in Norway, so you won’t find any amazing deals. That being said, supermarkets can still mark-up prices as they wish so it pays to look around. Here’s some sample prices from REMA 1000 and KIWI to give you an idea of what you’re up for:
Aas or Hansa pilsner: 26 NOK/can, 500ml
Local craft beer: 50 NOK/can, 500ml
Heineken: 30 NOK/can, 500ml
Corona: 34 NOK/bottle, 355ml
Somersby cider: 37 NOK/can, 500ml
Bulmers cider: 51 NOK/bottle, 568ml
Smirnoff Ice: 34 NOK/bottle, 330ml
The selection of alcohol available varies widely between supermarkets, but you will find both local and imported beers. Pilsners and IPAs are common, as well as some wheat and dark beers. Imported ciders and pre-mixed drinks are also usually available and ginger beer is popping up more these days too.
In an apparent effort to reduce prices, the REMA 1000 chain has decided to stop selling some local beer brands causing consternation amongst beer lovers. I find their selection pretty poor now. I’d recommend checking out a different supermarket if you can, to get a better picture of the local beers. As with food, MENY offers a broader selection but at higher prices.
If you're looking for an average Norwegian beer, I'd recommend the Aass and Hansa brands. I always think the Hansa IPA is a good bet.
Keep your empty cans (don’t crush them) as you can recycle them at any supermarket and get some money back.
Don’t throw out your empties! With most cans and plastic bottles (water, juice and soft drinks included) you pay a small deposit on the container when you buy it. Take them back to the supermarket, put them in the recycling machine and get your money back. It’s usually 1-2.5 NOK per item depending on the size. You’ll receive a voucher that you can take to the register. You can get the refund in cash or put it towards a purchase. Every little bit counts, right?