Sales of brewery beverages down by 2.1 per cent in early 2014

Lehdistötiedote   •   Kesä 02, 2014 10:15 EEST

A total of 222.6 million litres of brewery beverages were sold in the first four months of 2014. Domestic sales of beer, cider, long drinks, mineral waters and soft drinks decreased by 4.8 million litres, or 2.1 per cent. Sales had already hit a historic low in the comparison period, January-April 2013, and have continued to decline in 2014. These figures are based on sales statistics complied by members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.

Members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry sold a total of 114.9 million litres of beer in January-April 2014, a year-on-year decline of 0.4 per cent. Sales of long drinks amounted to 10.9 million litres, up 1.6 per cent, and sales of ciders to 8.8 million litres, down 2.3 per cent. Soft drink sales were 70.3 million litres, a decline of 4.7 per cent. Sales of mineral waters totalled 17.7 million litres, down 4.0 per cent. Stores had stocked up on products before the turn-of-year tax hikes, which slightly weakened sales in the early months of the year.

Particularly large sales drops were seen in soft drinks and mineral waters, which have been hit by three tax hikes during the past three-plus years. At the beginning of 2014 the administrative burden of companies subject to these taxes increased, as the taxes were staggered into two levels, and the tax on beverages containing sugar was doubled. Finns pay an additional excise tax on sweets, ice cream and soft drinks. This sweets tax amounts to 22 cents per litre on sugar-containing soft drinks and 11 cents per litre on sugar-free soft drinks and mineral waters.

“The sweets tax on soft drinks has accelerated the decline in sales of these beverages. The tax haphazardly targets individual products – this does not solve national health challenges. The inclusion of sugar-free soft drinks and mineral waters in particular under the sweets tax is unreasonable. Nutrition-related national health challenges cannot be blamed on a single food or beverage, but on overall diets and lifestyles,” says Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.

The Finnish soft drinks market has contracted during the past decade. Meanwhile, imports of soft drinks into Finland have increased. Imported beverages now account for more than 20 per cent of domestic soft drink consumption.

It is estimated that the higher excise tax on soft drinks has also increased private imports by travellers. Furthermore, the amount of illegal imports cannot be estimated. Travellers’ imports of soft drinks to Finland are not studied at all. However, Denmark has discontinued its soft drinks tax entirely due to out-of-control cross-border trade.

Finns do not want to pay a sweets tax on mineral waters

According to a recent survey, 92 per cent of Finns are of the opinion that a sweets tax should not be charged on mineral waters. Only 4 per cent think that a sweets tax can be levied on mineral waters. The sugar tax working group of the Ministry of Finance has justified the excise tax on mineral waters by stating that Finland has good tap water. However, over and above the sweets tax, soft drinks and mineral waters are also subject to a packaging tax; joining the beverage container recycling system provides exemption from this tax.

It is estimated that Finns drink 56 litres of soft drinks per capita annually. This is among the lowest in Western Europe. Finland has the lowest mineral water consumption in all of Europe, about 17 litres per capita annually. These figures are based on the estimates of Unesda, the European umbrella organisation of soft drink manufacturers.

In March 2014, Taloustutkimus carried out a survey of Finnish consumers’ purchase and consumption behaviour with respect to mild alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. The survey was commissioned by the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry. 1023 people responded to the survey on Taloustutkimus’ Internet panel. The survey results have been weighted to correspond to the adult Finnish population by age, gender and major region.

DOMESTIC SALES 1 Jan. 2014−30 Apr. 2014







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Source: Member companies of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry: Captol Invest, Hartwall, Nokian Panimo, Olvi, Red Bull, Saimaan Juomatehdas and Sinebrychoff. The statistics do not include sales by actors outside the Federation nor private imports of brewery products, which are not statistically recorded. As of the beginning of 2011, the statistics include all the brands of the members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry and any private label brands they produce.

Additional information:
Managing Director Elina Ussa, tel. +358 (0)45 269 7711
Communications Manager Outi Heikkinen, tel. +358 (0)50 370 8677,,
Twitter: @panimoliitto, Facebook:

The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry promotes the interests of producers of beer, cider, long drinks, soft drinks and mineral waters in Finland. Its members are Captol Invest Oy, Oy Hartwall Ab, Nokian Panimo Oy, Olvi Oyj, Red Bull Finland Oy, Saimaan Juomatehdas, and Oy Sinebrychoff Ab. The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry operates in connection with the Finnish Food and Drink Industries Federation and represents Finland’s third largest industry in the food and drink branch in terms of the value of production.