October 21, 2016

Five for Friday: Finnish Spirits

Local ingredients are fueling the Finnish distillery movement.
Local ingredients are fueling the Finnish distillery movement.
Istock.com / Denis Dubrovin

The times they are a-changing in the world of Finnish spirits. This week it’s time to discover what’s going on with startups (and some familiar faces) who are plying the distillery trade.

The Helsinki Distilling Company

Located in Teurastamo, Helsinki’s former abattoir and current epicentre of food culture, this distillery has expanded its offering since becoming operational in 2014. As co-founder Séamus Holohan told us last year, their success comes from sourcing locally:

“For excellent whiskey, you have to start with the best raw materials you can get. It is not like making wines where you are so dependent on soil type and climate. In Finland, when it comes to making whiskey, we can compete with the best in the world.”


Earlier this year, three of Kulinaario’s liqueurs were recognised at the New York International Spirits Competition.

“This is a major acknowledgement of Finnish alcohol production and of our small company,” Kulinaario’s managing director, Renne Angelvuo, said at the time. “What is particularly great about this is that our Liqueur Master Jorma Virtanen received international recognition for his expertise and his career of more than 45 years.”

All of Kulinaario’s products are made with pure wild berries from Northern Finland and are aged at the Lepaa Winery.

Ägräs Distillery

Whilst you probably may have heard of a certain company that produces scissors under the same moniker, rest assured that the village of Fiskars has a long and rich history.

“Fiskars was actually one of the biggest mining industries in the area over 300 years ago,” Susanna Kankare told us in February. “Nowadays our target is to be the biggest handcrafted alcohol village in Finland.”

Spearheading this ambition is this distillery. Sourcing local hand-picked wild herbs to create its beverages, its initial focus is on aquavit.

Kyrö Distillery Company

Not content with being recognised last year for creating the world’s best gin for gin and tonics, this Ostrobothnia-based distillery also came up trumps in 2016 with its single malt rye new make. Running operations from an old dairy, the company is set to unleash its first batch of malted rye whisky onto the public next year.

Koskenkorva Vodka

This Finnish stalwart has been spreading its wings of late, diversifying its offering and heading abroad with renewed vigour. Testament to this is its arrival on the shelves of UK retail chain Marks & Spencer last month.

“Koskenkorva Vodka has undergone a significant rebranding work, and the vodka itself has received several international awards,” said Kirsi Puntila, SVP in marketing at Altia. “Recent investments in Koskenkorva vodka have brought our key export brand positive attention, which also led to the deal with Marks & Spencer.”