Arctic Blue Gin produced by Nordic Premium Beverages was selected as the world’s best gin in the World Spirits Awards competition in Frankfurt in March 2018. Now gin is distilled in Ilomantsi in three shifts and new products are planned to be launched.

– First prize in the competition has done its job! We sell everything we make straight away, Marketing Director of Nordic Premium Beverages Arttu Taponen says joyfully.

Arctic Blue Gin has been designed specifically for export. In addition to Finland, the markets are in Central Europe and the Far East: Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and China. Taponen predicts that next year, approximately half a million bottles of gin will be sold.

Arctic wines from the purest berries in the world

The company behind Nordic Premium Beverages is Finland’s oldest winery Hermannin Viinitila (Hermanni’s Winery), established in 1989. In addition to gin, the product selection includes berry wines and liqueurs, and sparkling wines. The products of Hermannin Viinitila are still sold on the domestic market, and the name Nordic Premium Beverages aims at the international markets. The company has received funding for internationalisation from Tekes.

– Finland is well-known abroad particularly for its distillates. Next Nordic Premium Beverages will start rebranding berry wines: we will have a new Arctic wines category, Taponen reveals.

Arctic wines are different from both home-made wines and grape wines.

– There are no tannins in berries, and so berry wines have a totally different mouthfeel from grape wines, Taponen explains.

Berry wines produced by Hermannin Viinitila for the domestic market are characterised by their Karelian and local qualities. The local element plays also an important role in the Nordic Premium Beverages’ products: they are made in North Karelia, the berries are supplied by local companies, and, for instance, the European blueberries for Arctic Blue Gin are picked from the Koli region, and elsewhere in North Karelia.

Being Finnish is an advantage in the international market. In the Far East, Finland’s clean natural products have a good reputation.

Berry wines produced by Hermannin Viinitila for the domestic market are characterised by their Karelian and local qualities.

– Finland has the cleanest berries in the Nordic countries. Finnish berries are regarded as high-quality products. My idea is to promote North Karelia as the grand cru area of Arctic wines.

Know-how passed on from old entrepreneurs to new ones

Arttu Taponen joined Hermannin Viinitila in 2011 with his brother Samuli Taponen, who is the current chair of the company board.

– We joined the company after a consulting case. As a result, we signed a change of ownership for ten years. This could be regarded as bench marking; a change of an ownership can be a long-term transitional process during which know-how is passed on to the new people, Taponen says proudly.

The Taponens became interested in the company mainly through their enthusiasm for whisky. The company invested in new production equipment a couple of years ago, and started whisky production in the Valamo Monastery in Heinävesi.