New Alcohol Law Passed – The Change Is Expected As: “Everyone’s Waiting For It”

Iltalehti visited a small brewery in Helsinki to see how the reform of the alcohol law is being reflected.

At the brewery’s production premises in Helsinki’s Vallila, a calm atmosphere prevails despite parliament passing a law allowing the sale of strong alcohol two days ago.

Vallila is responsible for bar sales Thimu Ildola Satisfied with the new law, but according to him, the change in the brewery is not much visible.

– Of course, this is a big thing and increases the visibility of small breweries, Ildola says, surrounded by beer tanks.

– However, we don’t see much of it.

According to Ildola, most of Vallila brewery’s customers are restaurants and hotels, and the stronger IPA-style beer is already one of the brewer’s best-selling products, rather than the old upper range of grocery stores.

– You can’t go out and sell strong beer to stores, says Ildola.

Teemu Ildola is responsible for the sales of Vallila Bar. Sami Salmela

Awaiting mail order

The number of Finnish microbreweries has long grown, but the establishment rate has slowed in the past two years.

Bartender sitting on sofa in warehouse of bar Mika Haverinen A change in the law is thought to improve the position of small breweries.

– Hopefully this will improve operating conditions. Beers are more widely available in the grocery store, says Haverinen.

However, according to entrepreneurs, there is no perfect alcohol law.

– We also have some products that are not yet available in supermarkets. Of course, I wanted everything made by fermentation to be allowed.

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The brewer also expects the registration of the government’s scheme for distance selling of domestic liquor to progress.

– Of course, everyone is waiting for the arrival of direct sales and mail order. This could be a turning point. But we can definitely wait for that.

Vallila brewer Miika Haverinen believes the new law will improve operating conditions for small breweries. Sami Salmela

Haverinen believes the new legal change is good for Finland’s beer culture.

– I think this legal change will revive the Finnish beer culture and beer consumption. Moving in a central European direction, Haverinen reflects.

– When you go above 5.5 percent, you can find a world full of different flavors.

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A space for creativity

Vallila’s Bar is small even by the standards of small bars.

The brewery’s eleven tanks mature 80,000 liters of beer per year. In Finland, a brewery with a maximum production of 15 million liters per year receives the status of a microbrewery.

Ildola, who is in charge of sales, says their brewery is mostly manual work. A homemade looking, self-built bottling machine fills up to six bottles at a time. Ildola shows how the labels are affixed to the bottles.

According to brewer Haverissen, the new liquor law gives small breweries more freedom to develop new recipes.

Beer recipes sometimes had to be modified so that the beer’s alcohol content was below 5.5 percent, the entrepreneur says. As a result, the products have been sold in grocery stores as well.

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– If you think about some classic IPOs, they’re usually stronger than 5.5 percent. Such can now be brought to stores, says Haverinen with satisfaction.

– They are very tasty.

Vallila Liquor is mostly content with the new liquor law. Sami Salmela

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