May 15, 2020

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Non-alcoholic beverages

drinks collage
These Finnish drink producers have a variety of flavours on offer.
Julia Bushueva

Stay cool, refreshed and healthy with these five Finnish producers of non-alcoholic beverages.

The weather is slowly warming up. Feeling thirsty? The time has come to discover what intriguing non-alcoholic beverages local producers have to offer.

The Good Guys Kombucha

This major player in the Finnish kombucha market offers a modern take on the beverage that has been known and consumed for thousands of years, primarily, in Asia. Established by a group of friends, The Good Guys Kombucha has found its way to the shelves of supermarkets across Finland and people’s kitchen corners in EU countries via an online shop.

The product range contains organic kombucha in different mouth-watering flavours, starter kits and equipment for brewing your own beverage at home, and loose-leaf tea. Quite enough to replace the unhealthy soda pop with all-natural kombucha.

“The best kind of feedback for us is to hear people say that drinking our kombucha genuinely makes them feel better,” noted co-founder Krister Häll.

Poikain Parhaat

Aiming to make authentic Finnish flavours available to everyone, Tampere-based Poikain Parhaat makes premium lemonades, iced tea, artisan meads, seasonal beverages and a variety of other products using the best ingredients from the Finnish nature.

Run by two young entrepreneurs, the company was born in 2016 out of the idea to make the perfect glögi (Finnish mulled wine) to be sold at their local Christmas market. The aromatic drink was a big success, and Poikain Parhaat continued their journey towards more products and flavours.

“Finnish berries and herbs have always been important in our product development,” said product development manager Pertti Hakala. “In the future, pure natural flavours will be an even bigger hit than they are now. We Finns have an advantage in this.”

Jungle Juice Bar

Back in 2011, when Noora and Petteri Fagerström opened their first Jungle Juice Bar, Finnish consumers were not that familiar with the concept of a fast food outlet serving healthy juices and smoothies made with fresh ingredients and without any additives or added sugar.

“At the start, we were warned that no one drinks this kind of stuff,” Noora Fagerstöm recounted in 2016. “It took time and effort to build our brand, but now people recognise us very well. Awareness of healthy foods has increased and people are much more interested in them…”

After almost a decade in business and with some significant investment, the Jungle Juice Bar chain now has over 50 convenient locations across Finland and Sweden attracting an ever-growing number of customers looking for an instant fresh kick with these delicious vitamin-packed drinks.

Tähtikuoharit

Fancy a glass of sparkling wine? The Joensuu-based producer has a non-alcoholic alternative to your usual bottle of bubbles. The company’s brand, Sihinä (“sizzle” in English), provides tasty sparkling beverages full of Finnish botanical goodness that suit literally any occasion.

At the moment, Sihinä sparkling wines are available in five fascinating flavours: blackcurrant leaves, cranberry, lingonberry, rhubarb, and blackcurrant leaves and cloudberry.

“We appreciate genuine full-bodied flavours and atmospheric aromas that add summer freshness to celebrations and everyday life regardless of the season,” stated managing director Harry Mertanen.

Nordic Koivu

Harvested in Finland over a very short period in early spring and manufactured using pioneering methods and technologies, Nordic Koivu’s birch sap is now being drunk in many countries. A glass of high-quality organic birch water is a perfect way to quench thirst and get a vitality boost.

With natural products becoming increasingly popular around the world, Nordic Koivu is not only producing birch sap for consumers, but also constantly carrying out research on utilising birch sap as raw material for the cosmetics and food and beverage industries.

Having a great nutritional profile, birch sap has for centuries been known and praised for its potential health benefits. That, however, should not be taken too literally.

“We’re not even trying to claim it’s a medicine of any kind,” emphasised owner Susanna Maaranen. “It’s a healthy natural product.”

Text: Zhanna Koiviola

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