Skip to content

Alko sales drop back to pre-Covid levels

There is no indication that overall alcohol consumption or sales have declined, but rather consumers are drinking more alcohol in bars and restaurants, and importing more from abroad.

Sales of spirits fell less than those of beer, cider and wines. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Finnish state alcohol monopoly Alko said on Wednesday that its sales have dropped back to the same level as in 2019, before the pandemic. Last month its sales fell by nearly 14 percent compared to a year earlier.

The retailer sold 7.3 million litres of drinks in July, down from 8.4 million in the same month of 2021.

The biggest drop was in sales of brewery products, including beer and cider, which fell by more than 17 percent. Wine sales slipped by 15.5 percent while sales of spirits dipped more modestly, by eight percent.

Consumers in Finland seem to have lost their taste for rosé wines, which saw sales plunge by 25 percent. Purchases of sparkling wine dropped by more than 21 percent and white wine by over 15 percent. Sales of red wine decreased by just 9.5 percent.

Sales of non-alcoholic beverages, which have gained popularity in recent years, also fell back by more than 14 percent.

Alko's sales reflect the waiving of coronavirus restrictions earlier this year.

There is no indication that overall alcohol consumption or sales have declined, but rather consumers are drinking more alcohol in bars and restaurants, and importing more from abroad, especially from countries with lower alcohol taxes.

Last year, the Taxpayers Association of Finland (TAF) calculated that alcoholic beverage taxes generated 1.5 billion euros in tax revenue for the Finnish government, making it one of the most important excise taxes. According to the NGO, the Nordic countries and Ireland have the EU's highest alcohol taxes.