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Finnish mineral water makes waves globally

Finland boasts 188 000 lakes and numerous rivers and springs, but only one natural mineral water fountain.


Four Seasons, Shangri-La and now Ritz-Carlton are among the top-end hotels using products from Finnish luxury water brand Vellamo.

The latest deal sees Ritz-Carlton stocking Vellamo’s bottled mineral and spring water in its Toronto site, with an option to expand the arrangement to other hotels within the chain. Ritz-Carlton operates over 100 hotels in 30 countries.

Vellamo water is already available in over ten states in the US, with approximately 350 high-end restaurants and hotels carrying the brand. Over the past year, the brand has also expanded to Dubai and South Korea. Ice Age Water, the company behind the brand, estimates it will sell 4.5 million water bottles this year.

“Luxury hotels need luxury products, and Finnish water originating from the Ice Age is perceived as exotic in the world. Finnishness resonates around the world,” said Petteri Ahonen, chairman of the board of Ice Age Water. “What is more, our waters are truly exceptionally unique, with a wonderful story behind them.”

Vellamo products are sourced from Finland’s only natural mineral water fountain, located in Viikinäinen, Heinola. Dating back to the Ice Age, it was discovered in 1992.

Finnish water is among the best in the world, according to UNESCO.

Vastavalo/ Juha Määttä

Global focus

Ice Age Water, founded in 2017, has targeted global high-end markets from the start. The company has heavily invested in brand building and marketing, particularly in North America, where Vellamo has been involved in the American football spectacle, Super Bowl, and collaborated with NFL star Antonio Brown. The brand has also been visible, for example, at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.

Markus Heinonen, Vellamo’s marketing director, describes the water business in North America as primarily a brand game where only the strongest and most distinctive survive. The Vellamo bottle design has received several recognitions, including a Red Dot Design Award.

“The time spent on designing our products and building the story has proven to be priceless in many respects as we operate in the world's most competitive markets,” Heinonen added. “Successful design has opened many doors that would otherwise have remained closed to a small and unknown brand.”

Finnish expertise is also in high demand in other areas of hospitality. In February, Helsinki-based Bob W closed a 40-million-euro equity round to grow its offering of more sustainable alternatives to short-term rentals and hotel stays. At the same time, Valpas has generated buzz for its hotel bed technology, which helps to detect and trap bed bugs and prevent large-scale outbreaks.

By: Eeva Haaramo