FINLAND: Total alcohol consumption decreased by almost 4 percent in 2019

Last year, the total consumption of alcoholic beverages decreased by 3.9 per cent from 2018. In 2019, the total consumption of alcoholic beverages was precisely 10 litres of 100 per cent alcohol for every 15-year-old. Total alcohol consumption has decreased since 2007.

“The biggest factor explaining the decline in consumption last year was the decline in passenger imports of alcoholic beverages, especially spirits. Although the tax cuts in Estonia and Latvia accelerated passenger imports of brewery products towards the end of the year, the decrease in spirits’ passenger imports was so significant that, measured as 100% alcohol, it had a significant effect on total consumption,” says Marke Jääskeläinen, THL’s specialist.

“However, alcohol-related harm, such as the number of alcohol-related doctor visits and hospital stays that burden the health care system, has not decreased correspondingly, according to the latest data, i.e. 2018. In addition, the number of alcohol-related deaths began to rise for a long time in 2018.”

Sales decreased in grocery stores, Alko and restaurants
Last year, sales of alcoholic beverages in Finland decreased by 2.4 per cent compared to the previous year. In grocery stores and Alko, sales fell by 2.6 per cent and in on-premises restaurants by 1.8 per cent.

Passenger imports of alcoholic beverages decreased by 12.7 per cent, measured as 100% alcohol and calculated for every 15-year-old.

Medium beer is still the most consumed
Consumption of strong beer (over 4.7% alcohol), strong drink mixes (long drinks) and strong ciders continued to grow in 2019.

On the other hand, the consumption of medium beer also decreased in 2019. However, medium beer is still the most consumed of all beverage groups.

Sales increased in two provinces
Alcohol sales decreased in all other provinces except North Savo and North Karelia. In North Savo, sales increased by 2.0 per cent last year and in North Karelia by 1.6 per cent compared to the previous year.

The number of liquor licenses increased by more than 16 per cent. In 2019, almost a tenth of the licensed outlets also had a retail permit for alcoholic beverages, i.e. a license to sell drinks containing a maximum of 5.5 per cent of alcohol, according to customers.

Alcohol tax increase in 2019
At the beginning of 2019, the alcohol tax for all groups of alcoholic beverages was increased, but with a slightly greater emphasis on mild alcoholic beverages.

Source: THL