The most recent change in Finnish alcohol policy occurred at the beginning of 2018, when a new alcohol law came into force. According to the new legislation:

  • Retail stores can sell all kinds of alcoholic beverages that contain up to 5.5% alcohol by volume.
  • Independent breweries and microbreweries can apply for license to sell craft beer up to 12 % alcohol by volume.
  • Restaurants and bars can advertise Happy Hour discounts.
  • Opening hours are deregulated for restaurants and bars and the serving hours are prolonged to 4 a.m. with a one hour drink up time.

In the presentation the background, process and possible effects of the new alcohol legislation will be discussed. In addition differences and similarities between Finland and Sweden will be addressed as well as next steps for the development of Finnish alcohol policy in the future.

Thomas Karlssson
Thomas Karlssson


Thomas Karlsson is a senior researcher and vice head of unit at the Alcohol, Drugs and Addictions Unit at the Department of Public Health Solutions at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). He is also head of the WHO Collaborating Centre on alcohol policy implementation and evaluation based in THL. During the past twenty years Karlsson has been involved in many international comparative research projects and EU co-financed research projects. Karlsson’s main research topics include international and national level alcohol policy studies, studies on alcohol consumption, especially unrecorded consumption, and studies on public opinions on alcohol policy.