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Timo Kanniainen, a co-founder and brewer at Sonnisaari Brewery, was pictured hauling a bag of malt in Oulu on 30 October, 2015.The Finnish Microbreweries' Association has pleaded with lawmakers to take into account the growth opportunities of microbreweries in the reform of the Alcohol Act.

The domestic beer culture is currently enjoying a renaissance, with new microbreweries popping up like mushrooms after rain in all parts of the country. The regulatory environment, however, continues to limit the opportunities of these new businesses to grow and create jobs, according to the association.

For example, beers with an alcohol content exceeding 4.7 per cent are currently retailed exclusively by the state-owned alcohol retail monopoly, Alko.

“The retail space and volumes of Alko are limited, while microbreweries are prohibited from engaging in retail sales. Finnish microbreweries are prohibited from selling online, even though online sales are growing rapidly around the world, and from marketing by the ever-important means of social media,” the association states in a press release.

“The strong beer specialities of microbreweries should be available in grocery shops also in Finland so that they can promote the local food culture and the success of small local businesses as suppliers for the retail sector.”

The Finnish Microbreweries' Association also gauges that microbreweries represent untapped potential for the tourism industry. There is demand for brewery tours, for example.

“Microbreweries with the possibility to retail [their products] are the only ones that are able to operate in a profitable way and serve visitors. Local microbreweries should be permitted to retail the beers they have produced directly to consumers similarly to sahti [a primitive farmhouse ale] and home-grown wine.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Timo Heikkala – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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