News from Finland in English

Finland allows pubs and restaurants to sell alcohol on credit, to go and without portion size limitations

The rest of the changes to the alcohol law in Finland came into effect on March 1st 2018. After liberating sales of alcohol products in stores and supermarkets, the changes liberate sales in restaurants. Punters can now purchase craft beers from pubs to drink at home, for example.

The liberation of sales of alcohol in stores and the return of happy hours to Finland are followed by a new set of changes. There are five major areas where the new legislation affects how pubs and restaurants can serve and sell spirits and alcoholic beverages in the Nordic country. The state monopoly Alko still retains control over over-the-counter sales of wines and spirits in retailling and there are no changes to this in sight.

Opening times will open up: Before the change restaurants and pubs would need to stop serving alcohol at 01:30. With an additional permit this could be extended to up to 03:30. Around a thousand of these permits were active in February 2018. With the new law in place all locations can keep serving alcohol up until 04:00 just by informing authorities of their new opening times.

Sale of alcohol to go: Alcoholic drinks of up to 5,5 percent in strength can now be purchased to go from breweries, pubs and restaurants. Sales of alcohol to drink alcohol to go stops at 21:00, at the same time as Alko and supermarket stop sales. Only packaged products in cans and bottles are alowed for sale. Online sales are also allowed, but it is prohibited to deliver alcoholic drinks to the customer. This means that purchasers will need to pick up the product from the place.

Sales of alcohol on credit allowed: In the past alcohol could not be purchased on credit from pubs and restaurants. In the future sales on credit is allowed, but the responsibility of it is on the restaurant itself. There is a good practise statement in the lwas, meaning that if an alcoholic is served hundreds of euros worth of alcohol on the tab it can be investigated. This change in the law is expected to be more used in the future in night clubs and other venues where a bracelet or something like that can be used for payment to accelerate purchases at peak times.

Portion sizes are no longer limited: From now on customers will be able to purchase any portion sizes, including a bottle of vodka or whisky. This can be convenient for large groups who can now purchase a bottle to the table. Restaurant staff is responsible for tracking that binge drinkers are not served. Restaurants can also package drinks and meals together into a single product. It is not allowed to price alcohol in a way that would make it cheaper when bought at large quantities.

Lesser changes include changes to licensing, which means all restaurants can serve all types of drinks. Joint consumption areas for a group of restaurants will also be allowed. Supermarket bonus programmes such as S-bonus or Plussa can no longer provide bonus of alcohol products. Opening times of Alko stores will also be extend until 21:00 on week days and 18:00 on weekends - the state monopoly can also organise wine auctions.

Source: Pullo viskiä velaksi aamuneljältä, tarjoilijat järjestyksenvalvojiksi – HS kokosi, mikä kaikki muuttuu, kun uusi alkoholilaki tulee voimaan torstaina

Written by Janita on Thursday March 1, 2018
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