According to the Alcohol Act, the production of spirits and alcoholic beverages for commercial purposes is subject to a licence, i.e., commercial production is allowed only to actors possessing a production licence for spirits or alcoholic beverages granted by Valvira.
The further processing and packaging of spirits and alcoholic beverages produced elsewhere is also deemed to be production. The production licence includes the right to the wholesale of the company’s own products.
The production licence shall be granted until further notice unless the applicant has applied for a temporary licence, the operation is seasonal in nature or Valvira has justified reasons to grant the licence for a maximum of one year to monitor the preconditions or effects of an applicant’s operations which are subject to a licence.
A licence valid until further notice shall remain valid as long as the licence holder is deemed to fulfil the requirements for the production licence or the licence holder notifies Valvira of the termination of the licence/operations.
While the production licence is valid, the licence holder is responsible for fulfilling the prerequisites needed and the reliability required for these operations. If necessary, Valvira may, free of charge, revoke the production licence either for a set period of time or permanently if the provisions, regulations, restrictions or conditions laid down are not complied with or the licence holder is deemed to have lost the prerequisites for being granted the licence or its reliability.
Production licence for teaching or research purposes
A production licence for spirits or alcoholic beverages may also be granted for teaching or research purposes. Spirits and alcoholic beverages produced for teaching and research purposes may only be used in the analysis and quality control of the product.
Home production of alcoholic beverages
Private persons have the right to the household production of mild alcoholic beverages solely through fermentation. Alcoholic beverages produced in the household are intended for private use and may not be sold or served in connection with commercial activities or at events subject to a charge.
Supervision of the production of spirits and alcoholic beverages
The production of alcohol is supervised, for example, through supervisory inspections, market surveillance, sampling, and document and register supervision. Both plan-based supervision, based on a risk assessment, and reactive supervision are used. The importance of the self-monitoring of the licence holders is emphasised and in its self-monitoring plan, the company must describe the measures taken to guarantee the product safety of the alcoholic beverages.
Reporting obligations of the producers of spirits and alcoholic beverages
The producers of spirits and alcoholic beverages are obligated to report the products they produce to Valvira’s product register. The producers of alcoholic beverages report the production volumes three times per year and alcohol sales each month to Valvira. The producers of spirits report the production data quarterly in an ethyl alcohol report. For more detailed instructions on reporting, see Valvira’s instructions “Reporting instructions for producers of alcoholic beverages” and “Ethyl alcohol reporting”.
A supervision fee is collected annually for the supervision of the production of spirits and alcoholic beverages. The fee is determined in accordance with the Decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and comprises a fixed base fee and a surcharge based on the extent of the operations. The base fee is also collected from those licence holders whose licence is valid during the supervision fee period in question. The annual supervision fee is no less than EUR 390 and no more than EUR 18,000.