Julmust (Swedish: jul "Yule" and must "not yet fermented juice of fruit or berries", though there is no such juice in julmust) is a soft drink that is mainly consumed in Sweden around Christmas. During the other part of the year it is usually quite difficult to find in stores, but sometimes it is sold at other times of the year under the name must. At Easter the name is påskmust (from påsk, "Easter" / "Paschal" [q.v.]). The content is the same regardless of the marketing name, although the length of time it is stored before bottling differs; however, the beverage is more closely associated with Christmas, somewhat less with Easter and traditionally not at all with the summer. 45 million litres of julmust are consumed during December, which is around 50% of the total soft drink volume in December and 75% of the total yearly must sales.
Must was created by Harry Roberts and his father Robert Roberts in 1910 as a non-alcoholic alternative to beer. The syrup is still made exclusively by Roberts AB in Örebro. The syrup is sold to different soft drink manufacturers that then make the final product in their own way. This means that the must from two different companies doesn't taste the same, even though they are made of the same syrup.
Must is made of carbonated water, sugar, hop extract, malt extract, spices, caramel colouring, citric acid, and preservatives. The hops and malt extracts give the must a somewhat root beer-like taste without the sassafras. It can be aged provided it is stored in a glass bottle. Some people buy julmust in December only to store it a year before drinking it. In 2013 a rumour occurred that the EU would ban julmust due to a directive banning the selling of malt beverages containing caramel colouring. The rumour however turned out to be false since julmust is not a fermented beverage and hence not affected by the directive....LESS