HELSINKI, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Finnish restaurants are reintroducing an old practice of selling alcohol at low prices for one hour prior to dinner time every evening, media reports said on Friday.
The so called "happy hour" was prohibited in Finland ten years ago by an ordinance which required that alcohol prices in restaurants must remain the same for at least two months. The ordinance is withdrawn as of 2018.
During the happy hour, half liter of beer costs less than a euro, and long drinks are cheaper than in super markets, according to Erkki Koski, CEO of nightclub Hercules. "But we are trying to change the habit that people come to the restaurants later and later. We want them early," Koski told national broadcaster Yle.
Strict ban on advertising alcohol outside restaurants and the state liquor monopoly stores still remains, but the alcohol control authority Valvira has confirmed happy hour prices can be posted outside the restaurant.
The return of "happy hour" is one of the examples that Finland has gradually eased the strict alcohol laws over the years.
Strong beer is admitted to the shelves of food stores in Finland at the beginning of 2018, and also the regulation on licensed restaurants is eased.
Several changes in Finnish alcohol legislation and ordinances take affect at the turn of the year and will continue this spring. They reflect the view that more responsibility is being left for the customers to decide.
Later this spring, petrol stations will be allowed to offer hard liquer and wines in their cafeterias. However, not all operators will use the opportunity as they see automotive traffic and alcohol a risky combination.