In the spring, the interest rate crisis raised the question of whether small breweries should be allowed to sell distance selling temporarily as a support measure. However, the government decided in its talks on Thursday to reject the move. According to government sources, other ways are now being considered to help small breweries. For example, could Alko add drinks from small breweries to its selection? There is also a willingness to find out if drinks could be ordered from the online store right to your door.
The same means were also publicly raised by at least Paavo Arhinmäki, chairman of the left-wing parliamentary group of the ruling party, on Twitter on Twitter.
It remains unclear how the government’s will could affect the selection, even though Alko is a state-owned company.
Read more: The distance selling right rejected by the government did not surprise small breweries: "We cannot do what works all over Europe"
Alko says that the selection is based on customer demand. In addition, the addition of beverages by small breweries to the selection depends on the small breweries ’own willingness.
- Our doors are open to all small producers, which is why we encourage you to list products. If necessary, we help new breweries that are already cooperating with Alko, says product group manager Kasper Kukkonen to STT.
It is known that support for small breweries will also be examined from a tax perspective in the context of alcohol tax reform.
Krista Kiuru (sd), the Minister of Family and Basic Services, who is the Minister responsible, is told that the Minister will not be available to comment on the matter over the weekend.
Demand growth brisk
Alko's Supervisory Board has an understanding of supporting small breweries, but it is emphasized that drinks from small breweries are already well sold.
- Alkohan has already put a lot of products from small breweries on sale, says the chairman of the supervisory board, MP Arja Juvonen (ps).
MP Jari Myllykoski (left), who is also a member of the Supervisory Board and who initiated a bill in the spring to temporarily allow distance selling to small breweries, already considers the selection of small breweries in Alko to be reasonably good.
Due to the corona, Alko has eased the situation of small producers so that they have been able to offer more local drinks than usual.
Alko is told that the stores' standard selection currently includes almost 200 alcoholic beverages from Finnish small producers. By ordering, you can get 200 more drinks from a small producer.
The range is being expanded as interest in small brewery products is growing.
- We expect demand to grow by 10–20 percent this year as well, Kukkonen says.
Mail order requires a change in the law
In Sweden, Systembolaget, which is responsible for Alko, delivers alcoholic beverages ordered from the online store to the home, and government parties are known to be willing to find out if a model could be taken from a neighboring country. However, enabling mail order sales is not an easy support measure, as it would require a change in alcohol legislation.
It would be good to find out from Juvonen whether home delivery could be made possible. Myllykoski would also see benefits for mail order sales, but points out that Alko already has an extensive store network.
According to Juvonen, one should consider whether there are tax ways to help small breweries.
- It would be important to be able to keep your country's production and entrepreneurs alive.
A board of directors with 12 MPs can take part in the alcohol legislation debate and take initiatives. It does not make strategic decisions.
Myllykoski: This is a confusing situation
Myllykoski hopes that even if the distance sales of small breweries are not promoted, the discussion around the issue will continue.
- This is a confusing situation, and it should be thoroughly clarified what could be done about the disadvantage that a Finnish brewery cannot sell alcohol to Finns in an online store, but a foreign one can.
The debate over the right of small breweries to sell their products delivered home through their online store began in April in the midst of the worst interest rate crisis, when the Small Brewers Association appealed to the government. Under the current alcohol law, sales must take place in a brewery.
Of the governing parties, the Left Alliance, the Greens and the Center were most clearly in favor of allowing distance selling.