The surprising consequence of the Finnish alcohol law: Swedish young people drive across the border to Tornio for stronger drinks

More and more Swedes living near the Finnish border tend to buy alcohol at Tornio’s grocery stores. A wider selection seems to be the reason for these trips.

With the change of the Finnish Alcohol Act at the turn of the year, the difference in beer departments in neighbouring food stores is noticeable, writes Helsinkin Sanomat.

In Sweden, alcoholic drinks with strength up to 3.5 percent are in food stores available, In Finland beverages with a strength of up to 5.5 percent are in the shelves of ordinary grocery stores.

Especially in the stores of Tornio, there has been a rise in the sale of long drinks. The rise in beer sale has been around fifth compared to previous periods.

“The ease of buying is tempting. The customer wants to get a complete shopping cart from the same place, and in Sweden, this is not possible the same way,” mentioned local shopkeeper. “Traveling is not an obstacle in border towns.”

A significant proportion of Swedish buyers in Finland are under 20 years old, traders say. In Sweden, young people are only allowed to buy lower than 3.5% beers. To buy from Systembolaget person must be at least 20 years old.

Swedes consume alcohol about 17 percent less than Finns and, according to experts, it is due to stricter attitude towards alcohol.