In Finland, "lonkero" refers to a mixed drink made from gin and, most commonly, grapefruit soda, although other long drink flavours include cranberry and lime. In Finland, the long drink is ubiquitously available both in stores and in restaurants, usually on draught.
In 1952, Finland was preparing to receive increased numbers of visitors connected to the 1952 Summer Olympics. As a compromise following the Finnish prohibition (1919–1932), the country was living with a strict state-controlled alcohol policy. In order to help vendors facing a wave of foreign customers, the state allowed some liberalization and Alkoholiliike, the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly, introduced two brands of pre-mixed, bottled, ready-to-consume long drinks. These were the Gin Long Drink (gin with grapefruit) and the Brandy Long Drink (brandy with Pommac), then co-manufactured with Hartwall. The latter product was discontinued in the 1970s, after which the term long drink became primarily associated with the gin-and-grapefruit beverage in Finland.
Until Finland joined the European Union in 1995, the production of long drink was strictly controlled by the government. After joining the EU the government was no longer allowed to control the production, and this led to the birth of several long drink brands by different companies. Some experimented with using lemon, orange or other flavors instead of grapefruit. Others started manufacturing mild long drinks based on fermentation rather than on adding spirits. The same composition can be achieved by diluting a 10% beer into 5% with water and gin and grapefruit flavors, and the 4.7% product can be sold in grocery stores. The 2000s saw the reintroduction of the brandy long drink, now manufactured by Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas.
In the Finnish state retail monopoly alcohol store Alko, since 2007 Hartwall's "Original Gin Long Drink" has been the most popular product sold by the store, outselling Koskenkorva, one of the oldest Finnish spirits. Fermented lonkero beverages are sold in ordinary grocery stores under various names like "gin lonkero" or "grapefruit lonkero". The original mixed gin beverages were only sold at Alko due to higher alcohol content (5.5% alc/vol) and the fact that only Alko was allowed to sell non-fermented alcohol until 2018 when the alcohol legislation was changed.
The name "lonkero" comes from the English term "long drink", per the similar pronunciation to the word "long", but more adapted to the pronunciation of the Finnish language, which prompted producers to use the word as part of their marketing. The Finnish word "lonkero" literally means "tentacle" but the apparent double meaning is purely coincidental.
- Knoll, Aaron (27 July 2017). "The story of the Finnish Long Drink". Theginisin.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
- "Hartwall Original Gin Long Drink Alkon ylivoimaisesti myydyin tuotemerkki". Hartwall. Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
- "Finnish Long Drink exports to the US begin – First available in New York". Metropolitan.fi. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
- Persson, Joakim. "Finnish Hartwall Original Long Drink now in Hong Kong". Scandasia.com.
- Kukkonen, Laura. "Lonkero uppoaa aasialaisiin - "Olemme vielä alkumetreillä"". Markkinointi & Mainonta.