Changing markets, new opportunities and potential threats: an examination of the Finnish microbrewery market in the midst of alcohol consumption and regulation changes

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Elsevier Books will publish during late 2020/early 2021 “Case Studies in the Beer Sector”.

I will consider the small yet expanding Finnish microbrewery sector that has been and is continuously impeded by regulations affecting domestic production, sale and advertising that naturally impact export and marketing attempts as well.

The structure of the Finnish retail and trade marketplace can also impact the production and distribution of specific (higher alcohol content) beer products. Further deregulation may occur in the future, but alcohol politics are very sensitive in the country, where bulk ‘lower-end’ mass-produced beer and imported (inexpensive) products still occupy significant market share.

The intention would be to conduct a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research with microbrewery operators in Finland, as well as related or associated stakeholders, to determine:

  • has the market and its development been unduly affected by regulations to-date?
  • is there sufficient support for microbrewery activities at government-level?
  • is the power of existing larger breweries and distributive/sales channels inhibiting or restricting microbrewery sales, whether due to ‘bulk product’ or emergent ‘craft beer’ brands?
  • do extant issues endanger product and company development, growth and even viability?
  • as export activity often comes after domestic market development, can domestic issues be inhibiting this possibility?
  • other Nordic countries are natural ‘first export markets’ for these products, but do their regulated alcohol policies create further problems?
  • shipping bottles of liquid around the world can be expensive, so are other considerations such as licensing and microbrewery brand licensing/franchising being considered for the future?
  • how are companies developing business growth, operation and expansion strategies, reviewing progress and actively managing challenges?
  • are any specific business models or strategies particularly helpful?
  • what marketing and promotional efforts are used and how are they functioning?
  • what do these pioneers see as changing in the future, both by plan and by desire?