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Finland's Midsummer week alcohol sales nearly double last year's

In an average summer week Alko sells 1.2 million litres of booze, but in Midsummer week, sales rise to two million.

Alkon viinahyllyjä Kuopion Sokoksen Alko
Image: Petra Husu / Yle

Finland’s state-owned alcohol monopoly Alko said that business has been especially brisk in the run-up to this year’s Midsummer weekend.

The retailer said Thursday that it had had to call on office staff to help man stores due to the number of customers stocking up on booze for the long holiday weekend.

Jari Hiekkataipale, a regional manager for Alko’s outlets in eastern Finland, said that he too would be pitching in to help serve customers.

"Everyone will be hitting the shop floor, even from the head office. For my part, I will mainly be stocking shelves and helping customers," he added.

Steep growth in demand for flavoured vodkas

Alko usually records a peak in sales around the Midsummer holiday, which is traditionally the time when many in Finland choose to begin their summer vacation.

The retailer said that although consumers continue to spend big at this time of year, favourites have varied over time. For example sales of hard liquor have fallen steadily over the past 10 years, but drinkers still seem to enjoy it at Midsummer.

"If we compare Midsummer to a regular summer weekend, we see sales of flavoured vodka rise by 78 percent, while other aromatic alcohol soars by 72 percent and 30 percent more regular unflavoured vodka sells," Alko product marketing manager Taina Vilkuna noted.

Consumers develop a thirst for other kinds of alcoholic beverages as well when Midsummer comes around. Last year sales of rosé wines shot up by more than 60 percent ahead of the long weekend compared to a regular summer weekend.

At the same time the retailer moved 40 percent more red and white wines and 72 percent more bubbly off store shelves.

During an average summer week in Finland Alko stores sell roughly 1.2 million litres of alcohol, but in the week preceding Midsummer, that number rises to two million.

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