Finns urged to buy booze on native soil


PHOTO: AFP / Scanpix

Alko, the Finnish alcohol sales monopoly, has launched a campaign against hauling drinks home from Estonia.

Since May 1st, any Finn getting his vodka from a shop near home is equipped with a bag boasting «Tax paid». Meaning: the tax paid on getting tipsy this time fell not in Estonian hands. «Buying your alcoholic beverages in Finland, the taxes will be supporting us Finns,» explains the Alko website.

According to Kauppalehti, 2013 saw Finns carry home 75 million litres of alcohol from behind borders; health and wellbeing services included, inflow of drinks increased 15 percent.

The Finnish financial newspaper cites, as an explanation, that in Finland beer excise per litter of pure alcohol stands at €32.05, while Estonia is content with €6.28.

Allegedly, abundant alcohol inflow from abroad into Denmark took a historic drop after several decades last year, as beer taxes were lowered. Following the move, beer sales in Denmark rose 1 percent.

Feel the weight

At the moment, Finland is gearing up to amend its alcohol law, so as to earn more on the inclination of its citizens to drink.

To hinder alcohol from being carried into the country, Finnish authorities are forcing bus tourists to carry boxes of beer and vodka to land by hand, instead of the convenient means of having it taken to home door among baggage on the bus.

According to Emor poll this April, of all Finnish tourists that visited Estonia 79 percent took alcohol along, for the average of €122 per person. Of alcohol sales, 34 percent is made of by what Finns carry towards home.

According to TNS Emor chief Karin Niinas, the pollster decided to take a deeper look into alcohol-along-purchases by Finns in Estonia; involving TNS Gallup in Finland, they did a high level study interviewing over a thousand Finns. 

Finns buy big

«The top spots for Finnish tourists to buy alcohol are ships and shops in ports,» said Aivar Voog, TNS Emor research expert and author of the study. «Two percent of Finns buy alcohol along from Estonia up to three times a month; seven percent do it 3–5 times in half a year; 32 percent 1–2 times in half a year.»

According to Mr Voog, while Estonian local alcohol consumption is in a somewhat downward trend, 2013 alcohol sales (in volume of absolute alcohol) increased 1.1 percent (in monetary value, the increase was substantially stronger at over 5 percent).

«The main growth engine is Finnish tourists whose purchases of alcohol amounted to 34 percent of Estonia’s total alcohol sales last year in monetary value,» noted Aivar Voog. «In low-alcohol beverages, tourists’ purchases grew over 15 percent in volume, year-on-year, since 2012; meanwhile, strong alcoholic beverages are losing popularity among Finns.»