Breweries scrambling to fill grocery shops’ shelves with stronger beers

A man standing in front of a shelf of beers on sale in a supermarket in Helsinki. Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa/Reuters


The battle for space on the beer shelves of grocery shops is expected to heat up following the de-regulation of alcohol retail sales on 1 January, 2018, writes Kauppalehti.

Finnish breweries are scrambling to deliver stronger beers and ciders to the shelves of grocery shops by 1 January, reports Kauppalehti.

“It’s a massive adjustment and hassle no matter where you look,” Rami Aarikka, the managing director at Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas, commented in an interview with the commerce-oriented newspaper on Wednesday.

“Shops will have a rather limited selection when it comes to brewery products stronger than the current ones at the start of January,” he predicted.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health revealed last week that grocery shops will be allowed to retail beverages with an alcohol content of a maximum of 5.5 per cent as of the beginning of next year.

Aarikka estimates that the lack of a transition period will benefit large breweries due to their larger stocks of products.

The introduction of stronger beers and other alcoholic beverages to grocery shops is also expected to further intensify the competition for space on the shelves of grocery shops. Kauppalehti predicts that beverages that do not end up in the shopping baskets of customers will soon have to make way for products in higher demand.

“Breweries’ ability to react quickly to changes will become more important next year. No one knows yet how consumers will react to the new situation. I believe that next year will be particularly colourful,” said Kalle Järvinen, the managing director at Hartwall.

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