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End of the line for beer as a pub quiz prize

Finnish bars are having to think up new ways to reward quiz winners after a legislative change banned the distribution of alcohol as a prize. The law bans the traditional practice of granting a few free pints to the winners of a weekly quiz, as part of a broader crackdown on alcohol advertising.

Visailujen palkintona ei saa enää jakaa olutlipukkeita tai muita alkoholijuomia. Image: Anna Leppävuori / Yle

Free beer tickets are on the way out at Finnish pubs, as a result of a new law further restricting alcohol advertising. Street advertising is now banned, along with the use of alcohol as a prize in draws or competitions, in an effort to stop alcohol advertising being seen by those below the legal drinking age.

In the ‘Snooker Time’ pub in Oulu, the first pub quiz of the year came and went without a prize being distributed. Quiz host Miku Mertanen had not thought of a replacement, and said customers ‘moaned and whined a bit’.

Bar owner Markku Hyvärinen wondered why the pub could not give out drinks, when the premises were already off-limits to minors. He says the Monday quiz has brought customers through the doors early in the week when his establishment is usually quiet, and he says he fears the flow of drinkers could dry up if he doesn’t think of a replacement prize quickly.

“I’ve wracked my brains for something, including maybe vouchers for the snooker side,” said Hyvärinen, whose bar doubles as a snooker hall. “It would seem wrong to give out vouchers for a restaurant or some other place, but that hasn’t been ruled out either.”

The new rules have had all kinds of visible public effects, with the drinks industry vocally opposing the new restrictions. One brewery stripped logos and labelling from a landmark giant can outside its production facility.

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