Absolut Vodka

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Absolut Vodka
Absolut Vodka logo.svg
Type Vodka
Manufacturer V&S Group (Pernod Ricard)
Country of origin Åhus, Sweden
Introduced 1879
Proof (US) 80 - 100
Related products List of vodkas
Website absolut.com

Absolut Vodka is a brand of vodka, produced near Åhus, in southern Sweden. Absolut is owned by French group Pernod Ricard; they bought Absolut for €5.63 billion in 2008 from the Swedish state.

Absolut is the third largest brand of alcoholic spirits in the world after Bacardi and Smirnoff, and is sold in 126 countries.


The Absolut Company Factory in Åhus, Sweden

Absolut was established in 1879 by Lars Olsson Smith and is produced in Åhus, Sweden.[1] Smith introduced fractional distillation which produces liquor without fusel alcohol in Sweden in 1877, under the name "Tiodubbelt Renadt Brännvin" (Tenfold Purified Vodka). Brännvin literally means "burnt wine"[1] and is analogous to the German "Branntwein". The term is also used in Norwegian, Danish, Faroese and Icelandic.[citation needed] ("Vodka" was not used for Swedish liquor until 1958, with the potato-based Explorer Vodka.) The name was changed to "Absolut Rent Brännvin" (Absolutely Pure Vodka) by Smith to market his improved product.[2]

Smith challenged the city of Stockholm's liquor marketing monopoly with his vodka. It was sold at a lower price than the monopoly's product, just outside the city border. Smith even offered free boat rides to the distillery and "Rent Brännvin" made Smith a fortune.[2]

Absolut Vodka bottles

In 1917, the alcohol industry in Sweden was monopolized by the Swedish government. Vodka was then sold nationwide under the name "Absolut Rent Brännvin". The name changed with intervals, Renat Brännvin or Absolut Rent Brännvin. In 1979, the old name Absolut was picked up when the upper-price range ABSOLUT VODKA was introduced. Renat is still a euphemism for spirits in Sweden, and the name of another vodka product by Vin & Sprit.[2]

Absolut Vodka was introduced to the global market in 1979. Since its launch, Absolut has grown from 90,000 liters to 96.6 million liters in 2008. It has become the largest international spirit and is available in 126 countries.[citation needed] The vodka is made from winter wheat. Approximately 80,000 metric tons (2,900,000 bushels) of wheat are used annually to produce Absolut Vodka. Over one kilogram of grain is used in every one-liter bottle.[2]


A number of core flavors are produced, along with bottles such as the Cities series or the Crystal series.


Much of Absolut's fame is due to its long-running advertising campaign, created by advertising agency TBWA,[3] also from David Jones's[who?] status in the business world and in Africa alone.[clarification needed] Based on the distinctive bottle shape having started around 1980 with photographer Steven Bronstein, and with more than 1500 ads, the ad campaign is the longest running ever.[citation needed] The ads frequently feature an Absolut bottle-shaped object in the center and a title "ABSOLUT ____." at the bottom. The original idea for the campaign came from South African art director Geoff Hayes who reported that the idea for the first Absolut ad, Absolut Perfection, came to him in the bathtub. In 1985 Andy Warhol created a work of art for Absolut Vodka which would become the first of many commissioned artworks to be used in Absolut’s ad campaigns with further contributing artists such as Keith Haring, Rosemarie Trockel or Damien Hirst. The Absolut Art collection is today stored at the Spritmuseum in Stockholm.[4][5] With one of the advertisements featuring work from David R. Philpot, a well known Chicago artist. A number of art directors and copywriters added to the campaign in the early years including: Graham Turner, Denise Dell Harbin, Dave Warren, Tom McManus, Evert Cilliers, Steve Feldman, Harry Woods, Arnie Arlow, and Peter Lubalin. Currently, the global Absolut Vodka account is managed out of Sid Lee Amsterdam. [6]


Some Absolut offerings have performed well at international spirit ratings competitions. For example, the kurant and pear offerings were awarded scores of 96-100 by the raters at Wine Enthusiast.[7] According to Proof66, Absolut Citron is among the Top 10th percentile of rated vodkas worldwide.[8]

Advertising campaigns[edit]

Absolut Bottle Re-design[edit]

Recently, Absolut released a line of bottles which are designed with abstract art and colors. One of the most distinguished redesign aspects was the influence of paint. The UK creative agency Brand Union interpreted the flavors using traditional design elements - pens, paper, crayons paint and brushes rather than using a computer to design and interpret the flavor.[9]

Absolut Statehood[edit]

In 1991 Absolut began an art commissioning program to select artists from all 50 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia. Absolut Vodka arranged to run full-page ads in USA Today with images of the commissioned works every two weeks. Artists selected included Romero Britto, Jon Coffelt, Burton Morris and Rev. Howard Finster. A limited edition of 300 lithographs of each work was sold to raise funds for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. As a commemoration to this campaign, "Absolut Statehood: 51 Painters, Visions of Their Home States" a book by Glenn O'Brien, was published with a foreword by Michel Roux of Carillon Importers with photography by Antonio Alia Guccione. 51 Absolut Statehood artists were interviewed by Peter Tunney and made into a film about the campaign. "Absolut To The People," a Peter Tunney Film, was simulcast in New York and Hong Kong in March 1993.

Absolut Tracks[edit]

Since 2005, Absolut has offered Absolut-Tracks: one base song ("Breathe") by Lenny Kravitz and ten remixes by different musical artist from all over the world, including Wisin & Yandel, Nikko Patrelakis, Jazzanova, Ashley Beedle and Little Louie Vega. Each track has its own video, and all are available as free downloads. Some of the poster ads (mostly at bus stops and train stations) featured a headphone jack into which standard headphones could be plugged in so that anyone could listen to the song.

In An Absolut World controversy[edit]

Absolut Vodka on sale at duty free at Nadi International airport, Fiji

In 2007, Absolut began its "In An Absolut World" campaign in which the company posted various, often fanciful scenarios of what the target audience might think would constitute a perfect, or "Absolut", reality.

In 2008, an Absolut Vodka ad, placed in Mexican publications and on Mexican billboards, featured a map of the U.S. and Mexico with the boundaries between the two as they were prior to the 1836 Texas Revolution and the Mexican-American War. Media outlets reported on reaction amongst some American consumers at the ad's perceived insensitivity to immigration issues. [10][11][12][13] Absolut responded that the ads were purely whimsical, with no political or nationalist agenda, but its critics were adamant. Absolut later issued a public apology and withdrew the ad.[14]

Absolut in popular culture[edit]

As of 2009, The Simpsons' opening sequence has featured, on the back of a magazine which Marge is reading at the supermarket checkout, a made up advertisement for Absolut which reads 'Absolut Krusty'. The ad shows a picture of an Absolut shaped bottle with the hair of Krusty the Clown, a well-known character in the show.

Absolut was central to a storyline on Sex and the City where Samantha transformed struggling young actor Smith into the "Absolut Hunk."

In a Thanksgiving episode of American Dad (season 7, episode 6), Roger is seen opening and drinking out of an Absolut shaped bottle labeled 'Absolut Everything', during a visit at Stan's brother's house.

The Broadway Musical RENT mentions Absolut in the song "La Vie Boheme" stating:

To fruits- To no absolutes-
To Absolut- To choice-
To the Village Voice-
To any passing fad.

Sean Connery drinks Absolut Red Label 100 Proof in the 1983 James Bond movie Never Say Never Again.[15]


  1. ^ a b "The story". absolutad.com. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The story". Absolut. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  3. ^ "Absolut Book.". google.de. 
  4. ^ "Absolut Art Collection". absolutartcollection.com. 
  5. ^ http://spritmuseum.se/en/start/utstallningar/face-it/
  6. ^ "Advertising". absolutad.com. 
  7. ^ "Proof66.com Webpage for Kurant vodka". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  8. ^ "Proof66.com Website for Citron vodka". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  9. ^ "Absolut Bottle Redesigns: Past and Present". The Packaging Insider. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Mexico reconquers California? Absolut drinks to that!". latimes.com. 
  11. ^ "Tuesday Map: Absolut Reconquista". Foreign Policy. 
  13. ^ "La reconquista mexicana de Absolut". LA VANGUARDIA. 7 April 2008. 
  14. ^ "A Vodka Tonic for Mexico's Loss?". TIME.com. 8 April 2008. 
  15. ^ "Absolut Red Label 100 Proof in Never Say Never Again". Bond Lifestyle. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 

External links[edit]