Applying for a production licence for alcoholic beverages
General information on the application process
An application for a production licence can be submitted using the Spirits Production application form that you can obtain from Valvira (www.valvira.fi). The application may be submitted by the licence holder or its authorised agent.
The completed and signed form, including attachments, is returned to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or the postal address PL 210, 00281 Helsinki.
The application should be submitted sufficiently in advance of commencing production activities. The length of the application’s processing varies on a case-by-case basis. However, the average processing time is around three months. If necessary, Valvira may carry out an advance review of the production facilities together with a representative of the licence applicant in order to assess the compliance of the production facilities with the prerequisites of the Alcohol Act and the Food Act. Furthermore, issues related to the application, legislation, self-monitoring and reporting are reviewed with the licence applicant.
General criteria for granting a licence
A production licence is granted to a competent organisation (e.g. a limited liability company or co-operative registered in the Trade Register, or to an established partnership for which a basic notification has been made to the register authorities, or to a person (sole trader) who is considered to possess the prerequisites and reliability required for these operations. The licence applications are recorded using only the Business ID, for which reason the applicant is required to have a Business ID already when the matter becomes pending.
A licence is granted to an applicant who is not bankrupt, is financially able to manage the operations and the fulfilment of their legal obligations, is known to be reliable and possesses personal qualities that make them suitable for the task. The licence is not granted if the applicant’s or person’s previous activity indicates that the applicant or person is clearly unsuitable for managing a business operation according to this act.
The assessment of reliability and suitability takes into consideration, for example, the repeated and significant neglect to pay taxes or other public fees by the applicant or its persons in charge, other than temporary insolvency discovered during execution, a licence under the Alcohol Act revoked within the last five years, and sentences passed within the last five years for an intentional offence related to business activities that may result in imprisonment.
Self-monitoring plan as per the Alcohol Act
Being granted a production licence requires that the licence holder has prepared a written plan for ensuring the legality of its operations (self-monitoring plan). The plan must be delivered to Valvira as an attachment to the production licence application form, but the plan must be primarily kept at the production facilities, available for perusal by the personnel implementing the plan.
Special prerequisites for production activities
The application must specify the product groups to which the production licence applies. The application must include proof of the applicant possessing the competence required by the product safety and quality assurance of the products in question. Additionally, the application must include an explanation of how the actor’s production facilities, equipment and production methods are suitable for ensuring the monitoring, product and food safety, and quality of said products.
If the competence or equipment available to the applicant are not suitable for the production of all alcoholic beverages, Valvira may restrict the production licence to only apply to specific alcoholic beverages.
Production location/storage and the relevant requirements
Alcoholic beverages may be produced at a production locate where the production and storage of the products is arranged in such a manner that effective supervision is possible. If necessary, Valvira will carry out an advance review of the production facilities during the processing of a new production licence application in order to assess whether the production facilities and equipment meet the requirements set for them to sufficiently ensure product safety and quality.
According to the Food Act, all companies storing, transporting and selling foodstuffs, including alcoholic beverages, must make a notification of food premises to the food supervisory authorities. A producer of alcoholic beverages must make a notification of food premises to Valvira for a tax-free storage before the planned start of operations. A written self-monitoring plan must be presented to Valvira in connection with the notification. In accordance with the Food Act, the Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the food hygiene of notified food premises is applied to the requirements of the facilities and equipment of the production location of alcoholic beverages.
A completed storage/production location form must be delivered as an attachment to the application form for a production licence for alcoholic beverages that also acts as a notification of food premises as per Section 13 of the Food Act. The form describes the quality and structures of the production/storage facilities and other places of storage, and their locations.
The production location of alcoholic beverages is simultaneously a tax-free storage. In addition to Valvira, an application for a tax-free storage must also be submitted to the Tax Administration. Valvira will not grant a production licence until the Tax Administration has approved the applicant as a keeper of a tax-free storage referred to in Section 22 of the Excise Duty Act (182/2010).
Description of a new applicant
List of shareholders or members
The names, personal identification numbers and domiciles, and the date of becoming a shareholder, of the major shareholders and persons who are members of the administrative organs, the Managing Director, the co-partners in a general partnership and the general partners in a limited partnership (e.g. a list of shareholders and persons in charge)
The articles or memorandum of association or the rules of an association, co-operative or foundation
The above-mentioned information does not need to be provided if the applicant possesses a licence referred to in the Alcohol Act and the information has been provided to the licencing authority no more than two years prior to submitting the application.
Description of the production operations and location
Self-monitoring plan for the production of alcoholic beverages
Description of the applicant’s competence and ability to ensure the product safety and quality assurance of the products (e.g. a self-monitoring plan in accordance with the Food Act)
Storage/production location form
Floor plan of the production facility, indicating the placement of the production equipment
agent’s power of attorney (if necessary)
A manufacturer of organic alcoholic beverages must enrol in Valvira’s organic product control system prior to commencing production.