Currently the fourth largest spirit brand in the world, Absolut Vodka is a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, the world’s co-leader in spirits and wines. (Top Ten Premium Spirit Brands Worldwide 2007, 2007). Considerably young in the market, and then a part of ‘V & S Vin and Sprit’, Absolut started branding and exporting their premium blend of vodka a mere 30 years ago, in 1979, where in, began the start of the iconic ‘Absolut’ brand. History of ‘Absolut’
Though the production and export of Absolut started in 1979, the start of the story goes aback a hundred years to 1879, when in Ahus, Sweden, a young man named Lars Olsson Smith, also popularly know as the ‘King of Vodka’ revolutionized the production and purification of Vodka by a process called ‘Continuous Distillation’. He called the Vodka made through this process ‘Absolut rent Branvin’ which in Swedish means absolutely pure Vodka (Lewis, 1996).
Realizing the power of the name ‘Absolut’ he registered the brand name in 1879. A hundred years passed, as Absolut vodka continued to be refined and sold in Sweden, but by the late 1970’s, it became obvious that in order to sustain the distillery, they had to export their vodka to improve sales. The American market were the biggest consumers of vodka in the western world, so it was natural that Absolut decided to start their journey in America in 1979.
In five short years, Absolut Vodka found itself being available in eighteen countries and by 1985, it was number one among imported vodkas being sold in the United States. (Absolut The Story, 2004) Production – The ‘One Source’ Concept Lars Olsson Smith had transformed Swedish Vodka, which was traditionally unrefined since the invention of the continuous distillation process. Absolut has continued to produce vodka in this manner. This production of superior quality vodka involves the use of high quality raw materials.
Absolut’s concept of production is the ‘One source’ concept, where in, all the raw materials have been obtained from the same, singular source. The raw material for Absolut, which is winter wheat, is cultivated in fields surrounding the small town of Ahus in southern Sweden. The water which is used comes from their own deep wells which they claim are untouched by pollution and impurities, and the vodka is distilled, produced and packaged in the Absolut’s Ahus distilleries. 50,000 bottles of Absolut that are produced everyday are shipped from the small Ahus Harbor, to consumers the world over.
Every single bottle of vodka imprinted with the Absolut brand name comes from this one source, ensuring that Absolut Vodka tastes exactly the same wherever it is sold in the world (Absolut The Story, 2004). The Absolut Brand When V & S Vin & Sprit decided to export their brand of Vodka, they hired Gunnar Broman, a creative director from a Stockholm agency to help with the branding, packaging and marketing their product.
After much deliberation on possible packaging, they chose a bottle design that had been inspired by an old Swedish pharmacy bottle they found in an antique shop in Stockholm (Absolut The Story, 2004). As opposed to other alcohol liquor bottles that had long necks and square shoulders, the Absolut bottle had a short neck and round shoulders.
The team decided to have the label printed directly onto the bottle, which was a brilliant innovation, as it further established the quality and clarity of the product (Lewis, 1996) As observed by Giep and Moriarty (2009, p. 79), “Thanks to its cylindrical simplicity and transparency, the Absolut bottle, though solid and heavy, is elegant and utterly distinctive”. With bold and colorful typography proclaiming the brand name and a brief story about the brand, these different and distinct features made the bottle stand out, and this is how the iconic ‘Absolut’ bottle came to be. The Absolut bottle has been at the forefront of every single advertising and marketing campaign that the company has put out, and is, literally as well as figuratively the image of the brand.