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Brewers claim 'unprecedented' fall in Finnish alcohol sales

Sales figures from the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry show a 7.4 percent fall in consumption of beers, ciders and other mid-strength alcoholic beverages last year. Soft drink sales fell by 4.4 percent.

Olutta Ruoholahden Citymarketissa Helsingissä 28. heinäkuuta 2011.
Brewers sold fewer beers, ciders and mild alcoholic drinks in 2012 than in 2011. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

That equates to a fall of some 51 million litres in drink-makers’ sales compared to 2011, an unprecedented drop according to the federation. Sales have fallen in each of the last five years.

The federation attributes last year’s exceptionally large drop to a rise in tax on alcohol and a rainy summer. Taxes on beers, ciders and other mildly alcoholic drinks rose 15 percent one year ago.

Finland’s alcohol laws came in for strong criticism from the federation, which says that current policies are steering consumers towards Estonia for bulk-purchasing.

It points to a study from the National Institute for Health and Welfare in 2011 that found that the real prices of brewery-made alcoholic beverages (beer, ciders, long drinks) had increased while those for other alcoholic drinks had fallen.

"Travellers have gone from importing alcohol by the bagload to importing it by the vanload. Tax increases no longer generate revenue for the state as they once did, as travellers’ private imports have narrowed the tax base," Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry, was quoted as saying in a statement.

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