Finlandia (vodka)

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Finlandia Classic vodka.jpg
Finlandia Classic vodka
Type Vodka
Manufacturer Brown-Forman
Country of origin Finland
Introduced 1970
Alcohol by volume 40.0%
Proof (US) 80
Related products List of vodkas

Finlandia is a vodka produced in Finland from Finnish-grown six-row barley and glacial spring water. The barley is distilled into a neutral spirit using a continuous multi-pressure distillation system at a distillery in the village of Koskenkorva operated by Finland’s Altia Corporation. The distilled alcohol is then transported to a production facility in the village of Rajamäki, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of Helsinki. In Rajamäki, the spirit is blended with glacial water, flavored (except for the classic non-flavored edition, 101 and Platinum), and bottled.

The Finlandia brand was established in 1970 by Alko, Finland’s state-owned alcoholic beverage company. A year later, the brand became the first Scandinavian vodka to be sold in the United States.[1] Finlandia is now owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation.[2] Finlandia vodka is distributed in 135 countries and is widely associated with Finland on the international market. Flavors include cranberry (since 1994), lime (1999), mango (2004), red berry (2004), wild berries (2005), grapefruit (2006), tangerine (2009) and blackcurrant (2009).


The distillery that produces Finlandia vodka was founded in 1888 by Dr. Wilhelm Juslin next to the glacial spring in the small Finnish village of Rajamäki.[3] Today, a facility at that same historic location still manufactures and packages Finlandia.[4][5]

In 1920, after the passage of the alcohol Prohibition Act in Finland, the Rajamäki distillery was bought by the Finnish state to secure an alcohol supply for pharmacies and for other non-beverage purposes. When the Prohibition Act was lifted in 1932, the state took over exclusive control of vodka production.[2]

In 1970, Alko, the state-owned alcoholic beverage company, established the Finlandia vodka brand name.[6] A year later the Finlandia brand became the first Scandinavian vodka sold in the United States,[7] as well as the first imported vodka brand there classified in a premium category.[8]

In 1975, a new alcoholic beverage plant was constructed at the Rajamaki location in Finland, and the distilling operation was centralized at the Koskenkorva facility in 1987.[9]

In 2000, the private U.S.-based Brown-Forman Corporation acquired 45% of Finlandia Vodka Worldwide, with the state-owned Altia Group, a successor of Alko, retaining 55% ownership.[10] Two years later Brown-Forman acquired an additional 35% stake in Finlandia Vodka. In 2004, Brown-Forman acquired the remaining 20% of Finlandia Vodka and assumed 100% ownership in the brand.[11]

As of 2016 Brown-Foreman is considering a sale of Finlandia Vodka in an effort to focus on its whiskey business.[12]


Finlandia vodka is produced from Finnish-grown six-row barley and pure glacial spring water.[citation needed]

At the Koskenkorva facility in western Finland, initial distillation of the fermented six-row barley takes place in seven columns with an average height of 25 meters using Altia’s multi-pressure distilling system. Any remaining impurities, including lethal methanol as well as fusel alcohols and oils, are removed as the grain spirit is moved in a continuous process through more than 200 distillation steps.[13] The entire production process, from grain mashing until the final neutral spirit flows out of the column, takes approximately 50 hours.[citation needed]

The final product, a grain spirit 96.5% by volume, is then transported about 315 kilometers (196 miles) south to the historic alcoholic beverage plant in the village of Rajamäki near Helsinki. The barley distillate is diluted with glacial water from the Rajamäki spring. Because the water is naturally filtered through sand and moraine formed by retreating glaciers during the Ice Age,[14] no deionization, osmosis treatment or other artificial purification is used — unlike with some other vodkas[15][16][17]

The cooling and heating water used throughout the process is recirculated in a closed system to efficiently control temperature and keep water use to a minimum.[1][2]


Finlandia Redberry

Finlandia is available in pure form (distilled alcohol + water) and in several flavored versions.[18]

Name Launched Description
Finlandia Classic 1970 Pure vodka 40%, 80 proof alcohol
Finlandia Cranberry 1994 Cranberry flavored vodka
Finlandia Lime 1999 Lime flavored vodka
Finlandia Mango 2004 Mango flavored vodka
Finlandia Redberry 2004 Cranberry flavored vodka
Finlandia Grapefruit 2006 Grapefruit flavored vodka
Finlandia Blackcurrant 2009 Blackcurrant flavored vodka
Finlandia Tangerine 2009 Tangerine flavored vodka
Finlandia Raspberry 2011 Raspberry flavored vodka
Finlandia 101 2011 Pure vodka 50,5%, 101 proof alcohol
Finlandia Platinum 2011 Pure vodka 40%, 80 proof alcohol in a limited edition.

Same water, spirit and distillation as Finlandia Classic. The difference is in the recipe and birch-wood softening. Produced by hand in small limited batches; each bottle numbered.[19]

Finlandia Coconut 2014 Coconut flavored vodka
Finlandia Nordic Berries 2015 Lingonberries, cloudberries, and bilberries flavored vodka

Finlandia promotion[edit]

During the past several decades, the marketing of Finlandia vodka has involved a number of global promotional campaigns.

  • 1976-1985 Several advertising campaigns in which taste is the primary focus: “There are vodkas for orange juice lovers and tomato juice lovers. Now a vodka for vodka lovers” (1976).[20] “The vodka for vodka purists” (1977).[21] “Vodka for vodka drinkers” (1982). “Finlandia Vodka for vodka lovers” (1983). “The world’s finest vodka. Over ice” (1984–85).[22]
  • 1990 The campaign “Finlandia. Vodka From the Top of the World” stresses the properties appreciated by vodka drinkers: coldness, clarity and purity.[23] The campaign was reintroduced in 2006.
  • 1998 The campaign “In a past life I was pure, glacial spring water”[24] is launched under the umbrella theme “Past Lives” in which Finlandia vodka recalls its glacial origins. The ad series evokes a sense of the past through grainy photos and personalities speaking about their past lives.
  • 1999 The campaign “Refresh” captures Finlandia vodka as "purely refreshing".[25][26]
  • 2002 Finlandia appears as “The Official Vodka of James Bond” for “007 Die Another Day”, the James Bond film series.[27]
  • 2005 The campaign “Vodka from a Purer Place” declares Finlandia to be "naked vodka" by playing up its Finnish heritage and the "pure glacial spring water" from which it is made. Transparent bottles are posed against snowy landscapes under headlines like "Here you see exactly what you're made of" and "When you have nothing to hide behind, you tend not to hide anything”.[28]
  • 2013 The campaign “To the life less ordinary” is designed to illustrate that, due to its blend of 6-row barley, glacial water and the midnight sun process, Finlandia is a “less ordinary vodka” produced in a less ordinary fashion. The campaign is meant to inspire viewers to never settle for the routine but instead always embrace a less ordinary life.[29]

Bottle design[edit]

Frozen Ice (1970) Tapio Wirkkala designed the original “Frozen Ice” bottle, which conveyed the impression of an ice-cold drink from Lapland in the Arctic North. The textured glass glittered like the surface of an icicle. The label featured two white reindeers sparring against the Midnight Sun low on the horizon.[30][31][32]

Hammered Ice (1998) Hansen Design of Design Philadelphia introduced “Hammered Ice” bottle design. The paper label was dropped and replaced with lacquered text.[33]

Glacial Ice (2003) Harri Koskinen, Finnish tabletop glass and industrial designer, along with New York’s Wallace Church & Co. graphic designers and the Finlandia Global package design team, designed and launched the “Glacial Ice” bottle. The texture mimicked the sensation of melting ice, capturing the origins of the brand’s glacial spring water.[34][35]

Melting Ice (2011) Finlandia introduced a new bottle called “Melting Ice”. The bottle was developed through the collective effort of designers including Harri Koskinen, the Finnish designer who was instrumental in the development of the prior Finlandia bottle, and Kenneth Hirst, an industrial designer based in New York, who sculpted the new form.[36]



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  2. ^ a b c "Rajamaki distillery". Difford’s Guide. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
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  6. ^ "From a distillery into an international actor in the alcoholic beverage industry". Altia Annual Report 2006: 92–93. 2006. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Finland". The Self Sufficiency DIY Info Zone. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
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  9. ^ Koskenkorva plant 70 years Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Company news; Brown-Forman acquires 45% stake in Finlandia vodka". The New York Times. U.S. 16 June 2000. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; BROWN-FORMAN WILL BECOME 100% OWNER OF FINLANDIA". The New York Times. U.S. 23 November 2004. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Brown-Foreman Said to Consider Finlandia Sale Amid Whiskey Push". Bloomberg. U.S. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Efficient production is a competitive edge". Altia Annual Report 2008: 17–18. 2008. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Sundblad, Ilmari (28 August 2014). "Finland". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Lachenmeier, Dirk W.; Attig, Rainer; Frank, Willi; Athanasakis, Constanze (1 October 2001). "The use of ion chromatography to detect adulteration of vodka and rum" (PDF). European Food Research and Technology. Springer-Verlag. 2003 (218): 105–110. doi:10.1007/s00217-003-0799-8. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  16. ^ Kolomiets, Olga A.; Lachenmeier, Dirk W.; Hoffmann, Uwe; Siesler, Heinz W. (4 February 2010). "Quantitative Determination of Quality Parameters and Authentication of Vodka Using Near Infrared Spectroscopy". Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy. Essen, Germany: IM Publications LLP 2010. 2010 (18): 59–67. doi:10.1255/jnirs.866. ISSN 0967-0335. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  17. ^ Drinks Enthusiast. Finlandia tasting notes
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  19. ^ Sanghvi, Vir (11 August 2012). "Rude Drink: In vodka we trust". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
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  21. ^ "1977 Finlandia, The Vodka For Vodka Purists". Digital Poster Collection. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  22. ^ "1985 Spirit Of Joy, Finlandia, The World's Finest Vodka Over Ice". Digital Poster Collection. 12 January 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Finlandia. Vodka from the Top of the World (Advertisement)". New York Magazine. 30 September 1991. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  24. ^ Schmitt, Bernd H. (1999), Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate, New York: The Free Press, p. 209, ISBN 0-684-85423-6 
  25. ^ "Finlandia refresh". Ads of the world. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  26. ^ "Finlandia. Vodka of Finland. Interview with Scott Reid". International Beverage Network. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  27. ^ "2002 Pure James Bond, 007 Die Another Day, 007's Vodka of Choice". Digital Poster Collection. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  28. ^ Elliott, Stuart (13 December 2005), "'Naked' Vodka for the Unhip Among Us", The New York Times 
  29. ^ Dean, Angie (10 April 2013). "W+K London rolls out global Finlandia campaign". More About Advertising. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  30. ^ Pallasmaa, Juhani (March 2009). "Tapio Wirkkala". this is Finland. Finland Promotion Board. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  31. ^ Tapio, Wirkkala. "Graphic design and packaging". Tapio Wirkkala. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  32. ^ "Iittala Glassware by Tapio Wirkkala". Daily Icon. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  33. ^ Cherkassky, Irene (15 May 1998), "In the clear: with a sleeker, see-through bottle, Finlandia vodka is poised to boost profile and sales.", Beverage World 
  34. ^ "Products / finlandia / Finlandia vodka Worldwide ltd. 2003". Harri Koskinen. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  35. ^ "Finlandia Vodka Celebrates 40th Anniversary". PRNewswire. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  36. ^ Ives, Andy (2011). "Finlandia Unveil New Melting Ice Bottle". Barlife. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 

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