Alcohol consumption in Estonia at more than ten-year low in 2015 (3)

Compared to 2007, when alcohol consumption was at the past decade's all-time high, alcohol consumption in 2015 had decreased by a whole 4.5 liters, down from 14.8. (Urmas Luik/Pärnu Postimees)
5/20/2016 8:45 PM
Category: Business

According to an overview provided by the Estonian Institute of Economic Research, alcohol consumption in Estonia decreased for the third year in a row in 2015 — to the lowest level seen in over ten years.

Converted into liters of absolute alcohol, 13.8 liters of legal alcohol per resident were sold in Estonia last year.
Deducting tourist consumption and accounting for some degree of consumption of illegal alcohol (0.5 liters per person) brought the total amount of alcohol consumption, as measured in absolute alcohol, to 8.7 liters per resident, or 10.3 liters per adult. Thus alcohol consumption in Estonia decreased for the third year in a row.

Compared to the year before, alcohol consumption per adult resident decreased by 0.8 liters.

Compared to 2007, however, which saw the past decade’s highest level of annual alcohol consumption, consumption in 2015 had decreased by a whole 4.5 liters, down from 14.8.

Annual average alcohol consumption in Estonia (in liters of absolute alcohol)

“It is very positive that alcohol consumption in Estonia decreased for the third year in a row, however we are still far above the World Health Organization’s maximum recommended amount (6 liters of absolute alcohol per adult per year),” the institute commented.

Factors involved in the decrease highlighted by the institute included changes in societal attitudes [toward alcohol consumption], increased interest in healthier lifestyle choices, decreased frequency of alcohol consumption, and an overall decrease in the average alcohol by volume (ABV) of purchased alcoholic beverages.

“Adverse health effects caused by alcohol still remain high, however it is natural that several years of excessive alcohol consumption will continue to have long-term adverse effects,” added the institute.

Tourist purchases of alcohol also decreased compared to the previous year, but nonetheless constituted a significant portion (41 percent) of alcohol sold on the Estonian market.

Overall consumption of alcohol decreased in Finland last year as well, where consumption decreased by 0.3 liters to 9 liters of absolute alcohol per adult.

Alcohol prices increased, production decreased

While prices of goods and services fell somewhat overall in Estonia last year, prices of alcoholic beverages increased by 6 percent, primarily due to an increase in excise duties.

Retail prices across all categories of alcoholic beverages increased, however the greatest increases were seen in the spirits category. For example, vodka and gin prices went up by ten percent, and liqueur prices increased by 16 percent.

The volume of production in 2015 decreased across all categories of alcohol except fruit and berry wines. 15.4 million liters of spirits were produced, which was a decrease of 22 percent compared to the previous year; production of vodka decreased by more than a quarter.

A total of 139.8 million liters of beer were produced, which was a 13 percent decrease from the year before. Production of alcoholic beverages with low levels of ABV decreased by 2.6 percent to 29.1 liters, while fruit- and berry wine production saw an increase of 2.4 in production to 9.8 million liters.

The export turnover of alcoholic beverages in 2015 fell more than a quarter, to 149.3 million euros. The greatest decreases in monetary value were seen in the export of beer (39 percent) and spirits (28 percent).

Alcoholic beverage import turnover likewise fell 19 percent to 227.6 million euros.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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