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Alcohol sales in bars, restaurants down by 40 percent last year

A report by supervisory authority Valvira also found that overall alcohol consumption changed only slightly.

Asiakas baaritiskillä oluttuoppi ja matkapuhelin pöydällä.
Sales of beer in bars and restaurants fell by 38 percent last year compared to 2019. Image: YLE

Alcohol sales in licensed premises fell by 40 percent last year compared to 2019, according to a report released by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, Valvira.

The report revealed that sales plummeted during April and May in particular, when many bars and restaurants across the country closed their doors due a government decree aimed at tackling the first coronavirus wave.

Restrictions also heavily hit Finland’s traditional Christmas party season, from November to early December, the report found.

Among beverages, per litre sales of ciders fell the most last year, dropping by 47 percent, while beer sales were down by 38 percent.

State-owned alcohol retailer Alko, as well as supermarkets and other retailers, reaped the benefits of the coronavirus restrictions on bars and restaurants.

Alko sold 92.7 million litres of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages last year, which was a 13 percent increase from the 82.1 million litres sold in 2019. The dramatic spike in trade reversed a decade-long trend which had seen Alko’s sales gradually decline year after year.

Alcohol sales in supermarkets, shops and other retail outlets increased by four percent from the previous year, compared to a year earlier when sales were down by about two percent. Sales of strong beers in particular increased during 2020.

Overall alcohol consumption dropped only very slightly last year, by about 1.2 percent, compared to 2019.

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