Alko is an independent company owned by the Finnish state and administered and controlled by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Its business operations are based on the Alcohol Act (1143/1994), the Decree on the Operation of the Alcohol Company (243/2000), the Companies Act and Articles of Association.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the ownership steering and supervision of Alko Inc. owing to the special task assigned to Alko Inc in law. Alko’s operations and its monopoly of the retail sale of beverages containing more than 4.7 percent alcohol by volume are based on the social and health policy objective of mitigating the adverse effects of alcohol consumption.

Therefore this page gives a brief information about the system of Vinmonopolet which is important for understanding the market structure. The following information can be found on this page :

  • Alcohol Monopoly
  • Age Restriction
  • Range and Scope of Selling Points
  • Opening Hours
  • On-trade Sales
  • Marketing
  • Per- capita Consumption
  • Domestic Alcohol Policy


An alcohol monopoly is a government monopoly on manufacturing and/or retailing of some or all alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine and spirits. An alternative for total alcohol prohibition could be alcohol monopoly. Alko performs the retail sale of beverages which contain 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.




In order to purchase and consume alcohol with an alcohol strength of 22 % alc. Vol. or lower, the age limit should be a minimum of 18 years. Apparently, in order to purchase and consume an alcohol beverage with an alcohol strength of above 22% alc. Vol, the age limit should be a minimum of 20 years. In order to order alcohol on restaurants, it is enough to be 18 years old for all type of beverages.


ALKO has distribution network of over 350 stores and over 60 pick up points which cover the whole of Finland. Via the webshop, the range of more than 5,000 products is accessible to all Finns, with just a few clicks.

ALKO has 2,500 skilled employees to serve the customers. They know how to pair food and drink, and can help customers to find the perfect match for even the most challenging dishes.


The opening hours are Monday to Friday between 09:00 to 20:00 and on Saturday between 09:00 and 18:00.


The permitted time to serve alcoholic beverages are- 09:00 and 01:30. Local authority can allow even longer hours on special requests.


For Alcohol beverages with an alcohol content of 22% or more, marketing is not allowed. Significantly marketing is allowed for the products which have a lower alcohol content. However there are various number of restrictions and regulations.


In 2009, the consumption was approximately 10,2 liters of pure alcohol 100%.


By limiting the alcohol distribution and its availability, the domestic policies try to control the level of consumption. In 1995 Finland became a part of the European Union and due to this, more liberal polices conducted which resulted in an increasing consumption of alcohol beverages.

The Finnish citizens are the leader in the Nordic countries by looking at the average alcohol consumption per inhabitant. In other words, it is a big segment of consumers in Finland that drink much more alcohol than the average person.

In terms of trend you see the same trends as in Norway and Sweden, where wine increase its market share while stronger beverages lose market share. Beer keeps its market share without further changes.

The governmental institution in charge of the domestic alcohol policy is called Social- och hälsoministeriet. The policies first aim is to reduce the costs and causes resulted by alcohol consumption.