Vice Squad
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Finnish Alcohol Still a Bit Pricey

The Finns understood that once Estonia was in the European Union and alcohol imports for personal use could not easily be limited, there would be a rush to Tallinn. So back in early March, Finland reduced its own high taxes on alcohol, dropping retail prices by some 30 to 40 percent. (Here's the most recent related Vice Squad post.) But it turns out that the tax drop didn't do all that much to stem the cheap import tide, or so it seems after two days' experience with Estonia in the EU. Here's the beginning of this linked article from today's EU Business:

"Thousands of Finns flocked to Tallinn at the weekend to benefit from neighboring Estonia's accession to the European Union, stocking up on cheap beer and vodka which they can now bring home in unlimited amounts.

'Jussi, look! The Koskenkorva costs only 10 euros (12 dollars) a bottle, it's crazy,' exclaims Ismo Puttonen as he eyes the price of his favorite Finnish vodka displayed in a shop here.

'And that's a liter bottle,' says a grinning Lasse Parviainen, a Finnish entrepreneur who owns this sparsely-decorated drinks outlet in a warehouse behind Tallinn's largest shopping mall.

Together with his friend Jussi Tiihonen and a horde of other Finns, 44-year-old Ismo has come from Aanekoski in central Finland on a specially-chartered bus to buy as much alcohol he wants, now that he doesn't have to worry about customs on the way home."

Update, May 3: Here's the view from Estonia.

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