Finland: Remarkable Alcohol Use Reduction in 2019

Total alcohol consumption in Finland decreased by almost 4% in 2019, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

In 2019, total alcohol consumption declined by 3.9% compared to 2018. In 2019, total per capita alcohol consumption was exactly 10 liters of pure alcohol for adult from the of 15 years and older. The total alcohol consumption has decreased since 2007.

The biggest factor explaining the decline in consumption last year was the reduction 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 passenger imports of liquor 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, has not decreased correspondingly, according to the latest data. In addition, the number of alcohol-related deaths began to rise for a long time in 2018. ”

The officially recorded consumption of alcoholic beverages in 2019 was approximately 8.2 liters of 100% alcohol for every adult 15+ years of age. Alcohol consumption, which is not included in the official consumption statistics, mainly passenger imports of alcoholic beverages, was about 1.8 liters of 100% alcohol for every adult 15+ years of age.

Sales decreased in grocery stores, Alko and restaurants

in 2019, alcohol sales decreased by 2.4% compared to the previous year. In grocery stores and Alko, sales decreased by 2.6% and in on-premises restaurants by 1.8%.

Passenger imports of alcoholic beverages decreased by 12.7%, measured as 100% alcohol and calculated for every adult 15+ years of age.

Low strength beer is still the most consumed

Consumption of strong beer (over 4.7% alcohol), strong alcoholic drink mixes (long drinks) and strong ciders continued to grow in 2019.

On the other hand, the consumption of low strength beer also decreased in 2019. However, this type of 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% last year and in North Karelia by 1.6% compared to the previous year.

The number of liquor stores tripled in 2019. The increase was mainly due to an increase in the number of small breweries producing artisanal beers.

The number of liquor licenses increased by more than 16%. In 2019, almost a tenth of the licensed outlets also had a retail license for alcoholic beverages, ie a license to sell beverages containing a maximum of 5.5% of alcohol.

Alcohol tax increase 2019

At the beginning of 2019, the alcohol tax for all groups of alcoholic beverages was increased, but with a slight greater emphasis on lower strength alcoholic beverages.