Finnish Food Workers' Union calling for boycott on beer produced in Estonia

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Beer on tap. Photo is illustrative. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Finnish Food Workers' Union has called for a boycott of an Estonian-made lager which is produced by a small Helsinki brewery, daily newspaper Postimees reports on Monday.

A new beer, Kontula Brewery's Keijo lager, appeared in Finnish grocery stores in mid-March. Keijo is not produced in Finland, however, but in the A. Le Coq factory in Tartu Finnish business daily Taloussanomat reported.

While the brewery made no secret of where the lager is produced, consumers could be misled by the brand name clearly referring to Helsinki's Kontula subdivision.

"The brand is owned by Finns, and the product development, warehousing, administration, marketing and sales all take place in Finland, and our office is located in Kontula. Production alone occurs at the factory in Tartu, where beer has been skillfully made since the 19th century," Matti Pesonen from Kontula Brewery said.

The Finnish Food Workers' Union called on consumers to opt for beer produced in Finnish breweries instead for the purpose of preserving local jobs.

Owners of Kontula Brewery feel that the union has attacked their business.

"We've made investments in Finland, hired people and paid taxes to the state. The attack by the Food Workers' Union is confusing because I don't remember ever seeing them calling for a boycott of foreign beer products," Pesonen said in a statement.

Postimees reports that the union's call for a boycott is all the more surprising considering that the A. Le Coq factory in Tartu is a holding of Olvi group of Finland. Chief Executive of A. Le Coq Tarmo Noop said that Kontula Brewery first turned to Olvi to inquire about the option of producing lager at the latter's facilities.

"As Olvi did not have any excess production volumes, they sent this customer to us," Noop said, adding that Kontula Brewery provided A. Le Coq with the recipe and taste for the new beer and has never made any secret of where its beverages are produced.

The Finnish Food Workers' Union has also called for similar boycotts before, urging customers to refrain from buying Fazer's Runeberg tarts made in Latvia or the Sisu lozenges currently made in Italy.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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