Under the Alcohol Act, the production of spirits and alcoholic beverages for commercial purposes is subject to licensing and can only be undertaken by commercial operators who have been granted an alcoholic beverage or spirit production license by Valvira.
Production also comprises the further processing, racking and regeneration of alcoholic beverages and spirits produced elsewhere. The production license entitles the license holder to sell the goods they have produced through wholesale trade.
Production license for commercial purposes
Valvira may grant a license for the production of spirits or alcoholic beverages to a registered trader or corporation. Prior to the license being granted, the applicant must provide information on their financial circumstances and demonstrate that they meet the relevant professional and technical requirements. In addition, where appropriate, Valvira may request a statement from the police or other authority regarding the applicant’s reliability and other relevant factors.
During the license period, the license holder is responsible for ensuring that they meet the necessary requirements and are sufficiently reliable to undertake this activity. Where appropriate, Valvira may suspend or withdraw a production license without compensation if the prescribed provisions, regulations, restrictions or conditions are not observed, or if the license holder is considered to no longer fulfil the conditions of the license or to have lost his/her reliability.
Production license for educational and research purposes
A license for the production of alcoholic beverages or spirits may also be granted for educational or research purposes. Spirits and alcoholic beverages produced for educational and research purposes may only be used for analysis and quality control.
Applying for a production license
To apply for a license to produce alcoholic beverages or spirits for a commercial or educational and research purpose, please use the relevant form (Alkoholijuomien valmistus). Applicants must ensure they have enclosed all the supporting documents listed on the form. Commercial production facilities are inspected and we will discuss the application, relevant legislation and reporting requirements with each applicant.
All alcohol license applications should be submitted to Valvira in Finnish or Swedish. The applicant may appoint a representative or proxy to assist them during the application process. The representative is required to present written authorisation to act on the applicant’s behalf.
Processing times vary but, as a rule, applications will be processed in approximately 3 months. The fee payable for the application is determined by a Ministry of Social Affairs and Health decree.
Alcohol production licenses are granted until further notice and the license will remain valid indefinitely, provided that the license holder continues to satisfy the license requirements. More information on the criteria and terms and conditions under which the license is granted are available in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decision (STMp) on the preconditions and applicants’ necessary reliability for the production licence, import licence and wholesale licence of alcoholic beverages and spirits (274/1997).
Domestic alcohol production
Private individuals may produce mild alcoholic beverages exclusively through fermentation in a domestic setting. Alcoholic beverages produced in the home are for private use only and must not be sold or served in conjunction with commercial activity or as part of an event for which a fee is charged.
Alcoholic preparations are defined as a substance containing more than 2.8% ethyl alcohol by volume, which is not an alcoholic beverage or a spirit. Alcoholic preparations include alcoholic sweets and confectionary, fruit and berry preserves, nutritional supplements, aromatic substances and extracts made using alcoholic beverages or non-denatured spirits. Mildly denatured alcoholic preparations include solvents, cosmetics and techno-chemical products containing mildly denatured ethanol.
Alcoholic preparations made from alcoholic beverages or spirits may be produced for commercial purposes by operators granted a license to use alcoholic beverages by Valvira. Alcoholic preparations made from mildly denatured ethanol may be produced for commercial purposes by operators granted a license for the use of alcoholic preparations. Denatured ethanol may be produced for commercial purposes by an operator with a spirit wholesale license.
Supervision of alcoholic beverage and spirit production
Alcohol production is supervised through supervisory inspections, market surveillance, sample taking, record and register control and other measures. Supervision will be carried out reactively, on the basis of risk assessment and on a plan-led basis. There is an emphasis on self-monitoring by license holders and commercial operators’ self-monitoring plans must set out measures for ensuring the product safety of all alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic beverage and spirit producers’ reporting requirement
Alcoholic beverage and spirit producers are required to submit details of their output to the Valvira product register. Producers are required to submit details of the volumes produced three times a year and details of their total sales monthly to Valvira. Spirit producers are required to submit information quarterly as part of the ethyl alcohol report. Further information on the reporting requirements is available in the relevant Valvira guidance, available in Finnish and Swedish (Raportointiohje alkoholijuomien valmistajille and Etyylialkoholiraportointi).
An annual control fee is payable by license holders for the control activities relating to alcoholic beverages and spirits undertaken by the authorities. The fee is set by the relevant Ministry of Social Affairs and Health decree and comprises a fixed basic fee and a supplementary fee determined by the scale of the license holder’s operations. The basic fee is also payable by license holders whose license is valid in the current fee period. The annual control fee is limited to a minimum of EUR 390 and a maximum of EUR 18,000.
Organic producers of alcoholic beverages must enrol in the Valvira organic production control system prior to commencing production.