Goalco, an Estonian-operated liquor store in the Latvian border town of Ainazi, is converting to a hardware store, as the owners see greater potential in selling building supplies than in continuing to sell alcohol after Estonia reduced the alcohol excise duty last year and Latvia plans on increasing theirs, rendering the operation of a liquor store just over Estonia's southern border only barely profitable.
With the exception of cheap vodka, the 25-percent cut in the alcohol excise duty rate for beer and hard liquor last July didn't really actually ultimately impact retail prices, CO Alco SIA board member Veljo Madiberg said according to daily Postimees (link in Estonian).
Nonetheless, it was enough to affect public attitudes in Estonia, and the opinion prevailed that alcohol prices in Estonia and Latvia had been equalized, Madiberg said, even despite the the fact that Latvia also reduced its alcohol excise duty rate last summer and the difference in prices between Estonian retailers and stores on the Latvian side of the border just about equaled the difference prior to Estonia's rate reduction.
Estonia has done a good marketing job that has lured people away from cross-border trade despite the fact that prices haven't significantly fallen, he added.
Goalco, which is closing down as a liquor store on Friday, has promised to continue selling until its stocks run out.
Editor: Aili Vahtla