ALCOHOL and DRUG REPORT
Finland - Pricing
The latest alcohol tax increase was implemented at the beginning of 2014. It was only half of the originally planned increase. This was explained to be due to the possible increasing effect of the tax increase on travellers’ alcohol imports. The price of spirits increased by 2.2 per cent on average and the price of wine by 2–2.5 per cent. The prices of middle products, such as fortified wine and mulled wine, increased by 3.7 per cent on average. For the first time, the tax increase was implemented as an equal increase in relation to pure alcohol. The increase was EUR 2.15 per litre of pure alcohol. As a result of this, the tax increase varied from five to 8.6 per cent, depending on the beverage category. Previous tax increases were implemented by increasing the tax by 10 or 15 per cent in all beverage categories.
Excise duty on alcoholic beverages rose by about 10% on average starting from January 2018. The tax increase applied to all alcoholic beverages, but the emphasis was mildly on weaker drinks. This increase came together with the rest of the 2018 alcohol policy bill which in addition opened stronger alcohol for grocery stores. The tax increase was supposed to balance the negative effects of the liberalization of alcohol policy.
From January 1, 2019, another tax increase was made equally for all beverage groups in relation to the alcohol content of the drink, but nevertheless, the increase in the tax on wine was slightly higher. The average tax increase was about 2.5%. The increases in different beverage groups:
beer 2.7 per cent
fermented beverages (such as ciders) 2.1%
wine by 3.7 per cent
intermediate products (concentrated wines) by 2.9%
ethyl alcohol (spirits and non-fermented beverage mixes) of 2,0.
Estonia’s recent decision to increase alcohol tax was received positively among decision-makers and experts. At the same time, however, it was stated that the planned increases will not stop the booze rally, as the price level of alcohol in Estonia will still be low.
In June 2018 National Institute for Health and Welfare reported that passenger imports of alcoholic beverages, converted to 100% alcohol, decreased by 23.1 per cent between May 2017 and April 2018 compared to the same period last year.
Finnish passengers imported 61.8 million liters of alcohol from abroad between May 2017 and April 2018. The amount converted to 100% alcohol was 6.4 million liters, compared to 8.3 million in 2017 at the same time.