Sales of beers, ciders and pre-mixed long drinks by Finland’s state-owned alcohol retailer Alko dropped significantly in the first month after grocery stores were allowed to sell stronger beverages, compared to a year earlier. In January Alko’s sales of “lonkero” pre-mixed long drinks fell by 39%, beer by 27%, and cider by 12% in terms of volume. Overall sales at the former state monopoly have declined by 8% yearon- year.
At the start of the year a revised Alcohol Act took effect, which removed Alko’s monopoly on sales of strong beers, ciders and pre-mixed cocktails. The maximum alcohol content of beverages sold at places such as grocery shops, kiosks and petrol stations was raised from 4.7% to 5.5%. Alko warned a year ago of major job losses and store closures if sales were to decline according to predictions. So far the decline in sales at the state shops has not been as steep as some predicted. Last autumn there were estimates that Alko would lose some 70% of the value of its beer, cider and long drink sales