Estonians discovering there's more to Latvia than cheap booze

Cross-border booze runs by alcohol-seeking Estonians may be starting to dry up, according to our colleagues at ERR News in Tallinn. 

But the good news is, our northern neighbors are also realising there are plenty other reasons for a trip south of the border, down Latvia way.

Last year, nearly a third of the adult population of Estonia bought alcoholic drinks in Latvia, ERR News said.

While in recent years they have made trips specifically to buy booze, more recently a trend has emerged in which they buy such beverages as part of a trip down south for other reasons, it seems.  

According to data from Estonia's Institute of Economic Research, while the average total alcohol spend remained below €50 for those who stopped by a liquor store in Latvia, those who made trips specifically to purchase alcohol in Latvia tended to spend €100-200 in one go, suggesting their rear axles would be under considerably more strain during the journey home.

"Statistics indicate that Estonians' drive to go out of their way to travel to Latvia to buy alcohol is subsiding, and if anything, the tendency is shifting toward purchasing alcohol while already traveling through the area," ERR News reported.

However, Einar Visnapuu, the owner of a large ALKO1000 liquor store near the Estonian-Latvian border, said that sales remained very healthy despite recent cuts in Estonia's alcohol duty rate as part of an attempt to encourage more home-grown consumption.

"In this time, the only thing that has changed is that while in the first years after this all began, people only came to buy alcohol, by now they have discovered everything else available in Latvia... It's very difficult to find something in Latvia that is more expensive than in Estonia," Visnapuu said.

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