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Alko sales tumble as consumers turn elsewhere for strong beer and long drinks

The top-three products sold by state alcohol monopoly Alko in 2018 were all vodkas, two of which are produced by state-owned alcohol firm Altia.

Koskenkorva, Leijona ja Suomi viina pulloja Alkossa
Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

Alcohol sales by state-owned liquor retailer Alko fell considerably last year, likely driven by more relaxed booze laws that permitted regular shops to sell strong beers, ciders and pre-mixed cocktails.

The revised Alcohol Act that came into effect last January raised the limit on alcohol content of drinks that supermarkets, kiosks and petrol stations are allowed to sell from 4.7 to 5.5 percent.

New figures from Alko show that sales by volume declined by 8.5 percent and - when converted into pure alcohol - by 5.4 percent last year, compared to 2017.

According to statistics, long drinks, beers and ciders saw the most significant drops in sales, falling 49, 31 and 19 percent, respectively, in terms of volume. The only alcoholic drink where sales increased was rosé wine, with demand up by a third.

Alko's top three most popular products last year were vodkas: Leijona Viina and Koskenkorva Viina (products from the Finnish state-owned alcohol firm Altia) and Suomi Viina (from French subsidiary Pernod Ricard Finland) which each sold more than 2 million litres last year.

Meanwhile, Finns prefer Chilean wines, with Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon and Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc the most sold red and white wines last year, products which are among the most affordable traditional wines available from the retailer, according to its website.

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