There is no definition of a non-alcoholic beverage in the Alcohol Act.
popularity grown non-alcoholic beverages often contain small amounts of alcohol despite their name. Why is this allowed?
Chief Inspector of Valvira Aleksi Halme says that a non-alcoholic beverage is not defined in the Alcohol Act. For this reason, Valvira operates according to the definition of an alcoholic beverage.
– The definition of an alcoholic beverage starts at 1.2%. Beverages with higher percentages are under the Alcohol Act, which is why they cannot be sold to people under the age of 18, for example, and may not be advertised in public places.
Drinks with more than 2.8% are subject to a permit, which means that their sale requires a permit from the regional government agency.
According to Valvira’s labeling instructions, if there are non-alcoholic beverages on the market that correspond to alcoholic beverages, the figure indicating the alcohol content must be entered in the same field of vision as the name of the alcoholic beverage. However, Valvira does not have the authority to instruct on the labeling of non-alcoholic beverages.
– The most important thing is that the consumer can easily distinguish whether it is an alcoholic beverage or a non-alcoholic beverage. Valvira also instructs stores to place alcoholic beverages clearly separate from non-alcoholic beverages, Halme says.
According to Halme, non-alcoholic beverages have not specifically caused additional work for Valvira. The only exception was Corona Spring, when restaurants began to try new ways of working due to restrictions.
– Less than 2.8% of alcoholic beverages were sold out in pots, although according to the law, more than 1.2% of beverages should only be sold out in sealed packages, the chief inspector points out.
Laitila Three months ago, the soft drink factory launched its first non-alcoholic beer with an alcohol content of 0.3 percent. CEO of Laitila Rami Aarikka says that low alcohol content is of great importance to the taste of beer.
– I understand that many people choose the zero percent version for reasons of principle, but in the long run, I think the taste matters more. Many have a perception that non-alcoholic beverages taste like curd, but with their popularity, manufacturing techniques and know-how, as well as product quality, have improved significantly.
The alcohol content and taste of a drink are affected by the way it is prepared. According to Aarika, there are three options: distillation, suspended fermentation and reverse osmosis.
– The oldest and most common way is to distill off the alcohol, but it also comes with taste and aroma. They need to be added afterwards, which is reflected in the list of raw materials for zero-alcohol beverages, for example as flavorings.
In the case of interrupted fermentation, the beer wort only lasts until the alcohol is not easily formed. Such beers often have a sweet taste.
In reverse osmosis, on the other hand, alcohol molecules are gently filtered out of existing alcoholic beer. This preserves the taste, color and nature of the beer, but the method cannot obtain a completely non-alcoholic version.
A clinic senior physician Kaarlo Simojoen according to, a small amount of alcohol has individual effects on alcoholics. For many, drinking alcohol has a big psychological effect.
– There have been cases where a patient has unknowingly drunk a non-alcoholic beverage with a small amount of alcohol. The incident has caused the patient a state of fear so great that he has applied to the emergency department of the a-clinic.
For most patients, ingesting a small amount is not a problem. According to the chief physician, compulsive drinking may become a problem for some.
– Of course, if you drink a basket of low-alcohol drinks at a fast pace, then you can already get some kind of drunk. However, I would not paint devils on the walls.
Simojoki does not see a low alcohol content as a health hazard to pregnant women, for example.
– Only some people who use antabus to support sobriety may be so sensitive that even a small amount of alcohol can have an effect.