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PTT: "Stronger beer prices would fall by 25% if sold in grocery stores"

The Pellervo Economic Research Institute (PTT) says that allowing grocery stores to sell stronger beer than they can at present would cause dramatic price reductions. Currently all beverages with an alcohol content exceeding 4.7 percent (so-called Class III beers) are sold exclusively by the state-run Alko retail stores.

Kuvassa olutpulloja.
Image: Joona Korpi / Yle

PTT conducted a survey on behalf of both the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry and the Finnish Grocery Trade Association.

"The investigation indicates the price of premium grade beer would drop by 25 percent if transferred to grocery store shelves,” Pasi Holm, PTT’s Managing Director told Yle’s Morning TV show on Wednesday.

He added the price drop would occur because the state-run alcohol retail monopoly Alko is an inefficient distributor.

Holm, however, did not directly say whether he approved the idea of selling premium grade beers in retail stores.

His views come against a backdrop of calls by health organisations for tougher alcohol legislation. Recently, a petition signed by 21 health organisations called for removing medium-strength beer from grocery stores and kiosks, and restricting the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and health (Valvira) wants to ban the sale of beer in stores before 11 a.m. and on Sundays. Currently beers up to 4.7 percent in alcohol content can be sold between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week.

The Finnish Grocery Trade Association is not enthusiastic about the proposal. Traders argue that moving beer sales from stores to the state alcohol retailer Alko would bankrupt shops and kiosks without reducing alcohol abuse.

Since 1995, Class III beer and similar beverages with a maximum alcohol content not exceeding 4.7 percent have been on sale at grocery stores and kiosks. All other retail sales of alcoholic beverages including premium grade beers are handled by the state monopoly outlet ALKO.

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