Under the Alcohol Act, the wholesale of alcohol is subject to licensing and can only be undertaken by operators that have been granted an alcoholic beverage, spirit or alcoholic preparation wholesale license. The wholesale license comprises the entitlement to import alcohol for commercial purposes.
Valvira may grant an alcoholic beverage, spirit or alcoholic preparation wholesale license 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 or other relevant factors.
During the license period, the wholesale license holder is responsible for ensuring that they meet the necessary conditions 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.
Applying for a wholesale license
To apply for an alcoholic beverage, spirit or alcoholic preparation wholesale license, please use the relevant form (Alkoholijuomien tukkumyynti). Applicants must ensure they have enclosed all the supporting documents listed on the form. Commercial production facilities may be inspected, where appropriate, 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 for an alcoholic beverage and spirit wholesale license will be processed in approximately three months. The processing time for alcoholic preparation wholesale licenses is approximately one month. 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).
The wholesale of alcohol 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-supervision by license holders and commercial operators self-monitoring plans must set out measures for ensuring the product safety of all alcoholic beverages.
Wholesale reporting requirement
Alcoholic beverage and spirit wholesalers are required to submit details of their product range to the Valvira product register, report alcohol sales volumes monthly and provide details of their grape-based wine storage inventory once annually. In addition, wholesalers importing organically produced alcoholic beverages from third countries must notify all imported batches no later than on the date of arrival. Further information on the report requirements is available in the relevant Valvira guidance. The guidance is available in Finnish and Swedish.
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 annual control fee is limited to a minimum of EUR 250 and a maximum of EUR 26,500.
Sale of organic products
Wholesalers selling organically produced alcoholic beverages must enrol in in the Valvira organic production control system prior to commencing production.