Panimoliitto

Sales of the brewing industry in early 2013 at an historic low

Lehdistötiedote   •   Kesä 05, 2013 16:01 EEST

Domestic sales of members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry, 1 January 2013 – 30 April 2013.

Sales of the brewing industry in early 2013 at an historic low

Sales of brewery beverages in January-April 2013 were lower than in a very long time. Total sales amounted to only 224.6 million litres, falling almost two per cent short of the weak result for the corresponding period of the previous year, 228.4 million litres. Only mineral waters and sales to Estonian ferries are seeing growth.

”2012 was the weakest year in the history of the entire domestic brewing industry. Unfortunately, it looks like domestic sales in 2013 will be even lower. One factor that contributed to the modest result in 2012 was that customers stocked up before the turn of the year. By a conservative estimate, sales are down by as much as 4 per cent compared with a normal year,” says Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.

Mineral waters and sales to international carriers are on the rise

Mineral waters and exports are the exceptions to the downward trend. Sales of mineral waters are still rising slightly and exports – mainly to Estonian ferries – have surged. After steady performance in the early part of the year, export sales to international carriers increased by almost 16 per cent in the case of beers and a whopping 51 per cent in the case of ciders in April alone.

”This trend is in line with the growth in the number of passengers on Estonian ferries. One should note that only about half of private imports from Estonia are accounted for by domestic brands – a growing share is represented by beers brewed in other countries,” says Ussa.

The gap between the beer taxes of Finland and Estonia is the widest in the EU 

Ussa praises the authorities for their excellent work in preventing the resale and supply of alcohol imported from Estonia to third parties. Alcohol is often brought across the Gulf of Finland for underage children. Public debate has considered ideas such as import limits and tightening border controls in order to solve this problem.

”The most effective means of preventing resale and supply to third parties and putting the brakes on cross-border trade is to have competitive taxation. The situation will only become worse if the difference in taxes is widened further,” warns Ussa.

The gap between beer taxes in Finland and Estonia is in fact so wide that Estonia would have to raise its beer tax by five per cent every year for 32 years in order to be at the same level as the current Finnish beer tax. We cannot wait for this gap to be closed by tax hikes in Estonia.

”Estonia gains substantial income from alcohol sales. According to newspaper reports, the Estonian government earns more from alcohol sales than from salary taxation.”

The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry holds that the only way to get the domestic brewing industry back on its feet is to cancel the tax hikes and return alcohol taxes to a moderate level.

”By cancelling its tax decisions, the government would support domestic jobs, a responsible alcohol policy and dynamic tax policy. The tax income would then go towards treating detrimental effects in our own country,” says Ussa.

DOMESTIC SALES 1 Jan. 2013 – 30 Apr. 2013

Beverage

2013

2012

Change

Change

mill. l     

mill. l    

mill. l

%

 Beer

113.9

113.9

-0.02

-0.02

 Cider

8.5

8.8

-0.2

-2.6

 Long drinks

10.7

11.5

-0.8

-7.2

 Soft drinks

73.1

76.7

-3.7

-4.8

 Mineral waters

18.4

17.5

 0.9

 5.0

 Total sales

224.6

228.4

-3.9

-1.7

Source: Member companies of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry. 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:
Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry
Managing Director Elina Ussa, GSM +358 (0)45 269 7711
Communications Manager Outi Heikkinen, GSM +358 (0)50 370 8677

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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 Oy Hartwall Ab, Nokian Panimo Oy, Olvi Oyj 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 fourth largest industry in the food and drink branch in terms of the value of production.