Alko is the name of the Finnish monopoly for the distribution of alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and spirits. It is an independent company owned by the Finnish state and administered and controlled by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Here you can find information about Alko and its tender process which is important for understanding the market structure.
On this page you will find:
General information about Alko
In Finland, the state owned monopoly is called ALKO, which was founded in 1932. Alko is tasked with the retail sale of beverages containing more than 4.7 % alcohol by volume. The only exception is local produced beverages that can be sold, by the farmer, but only with alcohol content maximum 13% alc. vol. Everything else can only bought in one of the 360 stores of Alko. Since Finland is a part of the Euro zone, Alko purchases and sells all products in euros.
Alko belongs to the Finnish state and all of its activities are based on the Finnish alcohol laws. Goal of this system is to establish a responsable consumption of alcohol without any unhealthy and harmful consequences. To ensure this there is for example an age limit to buy alcoholic beverages in the stores, by which any 18-year-old can only buy products with up to 22% Vol. and from 20-years-old it is possible to buy all products. Therfore identification of every customer is checked in case of doubt. If the Alko staff suspects someone to buy alcoholic beverages for a minor, they are allowed to refuse the purchase. The opening hours are limited and vary between 9.00-18.00 and 9.00-21.00 depending on the store.
On their website, Alko informs about alcohol and health and their responsibility in selling alcohol. Sustainability is also part of Alko’s responsibility. It effects the supply chain, the packaging materials and the choice of organic or ethical certificates in the purchasing process.
Information about Alko’s tender system
As the monopoly tendering system is quite complicated and difficult to understand we have tried to summarize the process. To us it is very important that the producers we represent understand the procedure and by doing so participate with us in an ongoing proactive work.
Many producers today misunderstand the procedure due to unclear information from Scandinavian partners and we really want to avoid this. We want you to understand how it works so we can co-operate to do our best in trying to get your wines into the system. A clear market information gives you the opportunity to know the market as well as to the procedure to get into the market.
» To read about the domestic policy in Finland Market, click here
If you have further questions about how the system works after reading this document, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Step-by-step – How a tender is created
The Purchase plan is announced every 6 months, usually in May and November. The plan tells us about the specific requests that Alko is looking out for and it also tells us when we can submit an offer and when a potential launch will take place. We update the information on our Current tender section which gives all the information about the demand.
» To read the Current Tenders, click here
In order to participate in a tender, first of all your wine needs to meet all criterias stated in the description. For example – Region, vintage, type of closure, grape varieties etc. The wine will be judged on the basis of quality and price.
We submit the offers, Alko will review the offers after the deadline to submit the written offer, Alko will request samples of about 20 wines which they would like to taste.
A blind tasting is conducted with all selected wines that submit their samples on time. The best wine of the tasting (first taste/style then quality) is the winner and will be purchased.
A tasting panel of minimum 5-10 people will taste the wine and score the wine individually. The person in charge of the request will not score the wine. They score each offer 1-5, where 5 is the best score. They score more on the basis of quality and only on price basis if a wine receives the same score as another wine.
To see the tender process in a presentation form, visit our tender process page.
Approximate timeline of the process
Step 1 – Fill out the tender form
What: Fill out tender form and sign Authorization form, Concealed Wines will send you this information.
When: Week 1-4
Step 2 – Concealed Wines submits the offer to Alko
What: Concealed Wines sends in the offer to Alko. It takes approximately 8 weeks to get an answer if the wine passed this step and if they would like to taste.
When: Week 5 – 12
Step 3 – Submission of samples to Alko
What: Send in samples within 4 weeks to Alko. Before that we want you to send samples to Concealed Wines, we will mark them properly and will provide you some instructions. We need 3 sample bottles and all have to look exactly how they will look like at a potential launch date. Along with samples, you also have to send a so called “target value” form filled out, Concealed Wines will send to you this form in advance.
When: Week 13 – 16
Step 4 – Tasting
What: Alko will organize a tasting and you will receive a result within 4 weeks.
When: Week 17-20
Step 5 – Result
What: If we receive a positive result in the tasting, launch will take place later about 2-3 months later.
When: Week 28-32
Questions and Answers about ALKO
Alko is the Finnish monopoly for distribution of wine, beer and spirits. It is owned and controlled by the state of Finland. Alcoholic beverages can only be bought by the end-consumer in the stores of Alko except for locally produced beverages with up to 13% alc. vol.
Concealed Wines is an importer for the Scandinavian monopoly markets, therefore Alko is one of our biggest clients. We work together with suppliers and producers to help them understand the Finnish tender process and distribute their products to Alko. The tender process can be quite complicated so don’t hesitate to contact us regarding questions.
The first step to enter the Finnish market is to find a tender matching your product. All upcoming and current tenders can be found here on our website. To apply to them just send us an e-mail to start the process or directly fill out the form online.
Alko’s tender process can take up to 30 weeks from the filling of the tender form until the final results, but it can also take less time. If your product was chosen the launch will take place about 2-3 months after.
Of all submitted tender forms Alko chooses about 20 products that will be further tested in a blind tasting at the monopoly. We will inform you in time if that is the case for your application and where the samples have to be send to.