Obligations and responsibilities of a licence holder for the production and wholesale of alcoholic beverages
The holder of a licence for the production and wholesale of alcoholic beverages is obligated to ensure compliance with the requirements for the activity and the reliability requirements.
The licence is valid until further notice or for a fixed period. A licence valid until further notice remains valid as long as the licence holder is deemed to be compliant with the requirements for the production or a wholesale licence. The licence will expire when the licence holder submits a notification of the termination of the licence/activity.
Responsibility for products
Together with the importer, the manufacturer of an alcoholic beverage is responsible for the quality and composition of an alcoholic beverage it has released for consumption, and for the product, its packaging labels and other presentation complying with the relevant provisions and regulations. If this is not the case, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) may prohibit the release of the alcoholic beverage to the market or obligate the licence holder to remove the alcoholic beverage from the market without any compensation.
Accounting and sales
The licence holder is obligated to keep accounts of raw materials, intermediate products and products containing alcohol. Sales of alcoholic beverages must be recorded per buyer and licence.
The licence holder may sell its products only:
- To holders of a licence granted by Valvira or a Regional State Administrative Agency
- For the purposes listed as exempt from tax in the provisions on tax warehouses in the Excise Duty Act and the Act on Excise Duty of Alcoholic Beverages (Laki alkoholijuomaverosta 532/1994)
- To holders of a licence to use tax-exempt alcoholic beverages for the purpose defined in the licence; in the case of customers with a licence to use alcoholic beverages, the licence holder must also ensure that the purchasing quota of the licence is not exceeded.
A holder of a production licence for alcoholic beverages is obliged to submit product, production and delivery data to Valvira, and a holder of a wholesale licence is obliged to submit product and delivery data in accordance with Valvira’s reporting instructions. The reporting takes place in the e-service of the alcohol trade register (Allu).
Reporting changes to activity
A licence holder must report any changes to its activity. Changes are reported in the e-service of the alcohol trade register (Allu). Wholesalers and manufacturers must report, among others, any expansions of the production premises or warehouse, while manufacturers of alcoholic beverages must report any additions of products in the product groups produced. A new licence must be applied in the case of any new production or storage premises. The licence holder is obligated to ensure that information about the company, including responsible persons and beneficial owners, is kept up to date in the register maintained by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH). There is no need to resubmit this information to Valvira.
If a licence holder assigns the business to another company or sole trader, or if the licence holder’s Business ID changes, the party continuing the business must apply for a new licence for production, wholesales or use from Valvira. The new entrepreneur must not start the activity until they have been granted a licence by Valvira.
Prohibitions and sanctions
Valvira may prohibit a licence holder from continuing a business activity referred to in the Alcohol Act if the operations materially violate generally accepted practice and the violation has not been remedied or the operations ceased within a reasonable deadline set despite Valvira’s request.
In certain situations, Valvira may order the licence holder to pay a penalty. Under the Food Act, Valvira may require a licence holder to rectify a non-compliance or prohibit the manufacture, internal market trading, export, wholesale and other distribution, serving and other handing over and use in the manufacture of foodstuffs of an alcoholic beverage. These measures are possible when the food or the information provided about it or the food premises or the food business carried out there is such that it presents or may present a serious hazard to human health.