Absolut Vodka is a brand of vodka, produced near Åhus, in southern Sweden. Absolut is a part of the French group Pernod Ricard. Pernod Ricard bought Absolut for €5.63 billion in 2008 from the Swedish state. Absolut is one of the largest brands of spirits in the world (after Officer's Choice, Smirnoff, Bacardi) and is sold in 126 countries.
|Manufacturer||The Absolut Company AB (Pernod Ricard)|
|Country of origin||Åhus, Sweden|
|Proof (US)||80 - 100|
|Related products||List of vodkas|
Absolut practices a One Source production philosophy, meaning that every aspect of their production journey takes place in and around the small village of Åhus, Sweden. Every drop of water and every seed of wheat comes from one water source and one community. Absolut have CO2 neutral distillation (carbon emissions offset by planting trees that absorb CO2 over their lifetime).
Absolut was established in 1879 by Lars Olsson Smith and is produced in Åhus, Sweden. Smith challenged the city of Stockholm's liquor marketing monopoly with his vodka. It was sold just outside the city border at a lower price than the monopoly's product. Smith even offered free boat rides to the distillery and "Rent Brännvin" made Smith a fortune.
In 1917, the Swedish government monopolized the country's alcohol industry. Vodka was then sold nationwide under the name "Absolut Rent Brännvin". The name changed with intervals, Absolut Rent Brännvin. In 1979, the old name Absolut was picked up when the upper-price range ABSOLUT VODKA was introduced. Renat is still a euphemism for spirits in Sweden, and the name of another vodka product sold by Pernod Ricard Sweden AB.
Absolut Vodka was introduced to the global market in 1979. Today Absolut sells over 100 million litres of vodka annually (2018). The vodka is made from winter wheat.
Lars Olsson Smith
Lars Olsson Smith was born 1836 in Kiaby and died 1913 in Karlskrona, Sweden. L.O. Smith was an entrepreneur, parliamentarian and founder of Absolut rent brännvin (Absolutely pure spirit). It was the inspiration for Absolut Vodka. L.O. Smith launched a method that removes contaminants such as glut in the spirits. L.O. Smith came from a peasant family in Blekinge and quickly made a career in the retail trade as an 6-year-old. He later moved to Stockholm and started manufacturing and selling vodka at his factory at Reimersholme.
In the early 1980s in New York, Absolut Vodka was a brand that thrived within the creative community. They were attracted to a brand that did things differently and the brand embraced them for all that kept them on the leading edge of pop-culture. Absolut's first advertising campaign was created by TBWA for the brand's U.S. Importer, Carillon Importers, Ltd.
Absolut Vodka is known for its long-running advertising campaign created by TBWA. The first of these ads, typical of the rest, was introduced in 1981 and featured a picture of the bottle with a halo over the cap above the slogan ABSOLUT PERFECTION.
Absolut's first advertising campaign ran nonstop for fifteen years from its launch in 1980, which, in advertising, is practically forever. Still, it is celebrated not just for its longevity but also for its ingenuity. They are full of wit, artistry and imagination as they deftly communicate the brand's values. The campaign has encompassed many different kinds of ads – art, fashion, cities, spectaculars, Hollywood, etc. The advertising has won hundreds of awards, including charter membership in the American Marketing Association's Marketing Hall of Fame. Absolut was inducted into the Hall in 1992 along with just two other brands: Coca-Cola and Nike.
In 1983, Carillon's President/CEO Michel Roux approached the artist Andy Warhol, whom he paid $65,000 to create an advertisement for Absolut. Over the years, Carillon commissioned the work of well-known painters, graphic designers, fashion designers, as well as many up-and-coming artists. During the 2017 Corporate Art Awards Ceremony hosted by the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace, Absolut received by pptArt a special award “for their long-running collaboration with 550 artists on 850 projects to shape their corporate image and brand”. The talents included such names as Damien Hirst, Rosemarie Trockel, Helmut Newton, Javier Mariscal, Maurizio Cattelan, Louise Bourgeois and many, many more.
In 2007, Absolut introduced its new global campaign, In An Absolut World, taking the world with a progressive spirit of hopefulness. Created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, the campaign is about making the world better by ″seeing it with fresh eyes and revolves around a fantastic world in which soap bubbles flow from smokestacks, art hangs in Times Square and protesters fight with pillows.″ In a spot called “Protest” a tense clash between protestors and police officers erupts into a pillow fight. Watch the video here https://vimeo.com/104053797. In one of the first print ads, art replaces flashy billboards in Times Square.
In 2008, an advertisement placed in Mexican publications and on Mexican billboards featured a map of the U.S. and Mexico with the boundaries between the two as they were prior to the 1836 Texas Revolution and the Mexican–American War. Media outlets reported on some American consumers' reactions at the advert's perceived insensitivity to immigration issues. Absolut responded that the adverts were purely whimsical, with no political or nationalist agenda, but its critics were adamant. Absolut later issued a public apology and withdrew the advert.
In 2009, Absolut debuted a campaign bringing the cocktail world to life with renowned fashion photographer Ellen Von Unwerth and critically acclaimed actresses Kate Beckinsale and Zooey Deschanel to celebrate different Absolut drinks. The ads paid tribute to those drinks that changed the playing field within the cocktail community and continue to have relevance among today's vodka connoisseurs.
In 2010 Absolut collaborated with Spike Jonze to create a short film entitled I’m here. It is a movie about rediscovering the world around you, set in a modern-day Los Angeles. Absolut gave Spike Jonze creative control to create the film he wanted setting a new standard for creative collaborations. The short film was screened at such film festivals as Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival.
The creative collaboration between the brand and Spike Jonze accompanied by a charitable donation of $30,000 to 20/20, an American Film Institute (AFI) initiative, designed to enhance cultural exchange, understanding and collaboration through filmmakers and their films from the US and abroad. Spike and Absolut each donated $15,000.
Throughout the years Absolut has launched a number of various limited editions inspired by different creative elements such as cities. In 2010, the brand collaborated with the director Spike Lee to design Absolut Brooklyn, a city inspired limited edition bottle and flavor.
In 2012, Absolut partnered up with Swedish House Mafia to create an original track and music video to promote Absolut Greyhound cocktail. “Greyhound”–which is the title of the drink, the video, and the actual music track–is a three-minute visual feast created by TBWA\Chiat\Day that sees three groups of couture-sporting racing enthusiasts converge on the Bonneville Salt Flats to watch some robotic greyhounds speed across the parched plains, holding pink Absolut Greyhounds in their hands.
In 2013, Absolut launched the Global 'Transform Today' Campaign by the creative agency, Sid Lee. The creative features four young artists who are, in Absolut's words, "daring spirits [with] a dedication to continuously transform the possibilities of personal expression." Sid Lee recruited four international emerging and cutting edge artists to inspire millennials to take control of the future, to Transform Today. French artist, director and musician Woodkid, American digital media artist Aaron Koblin, fashion designer Yiqing Yin and Brazilian graphic novel artists Rafael Grampa is featured.
In 2017, Absolut launched its current communication platform, ‘Create a Better Tomorrow, Tonight’.
As part of this platform, Absolut launched the Absolut Creative Competition in 2018 which was an art competition. In May 2019 Absolut announced the global winner that was selected by global juries such as Mickalene Thomas, Aaron Cezar and Bose Krishnamachari. Sarah Saroufim from Lebanon has been crowned the winner from 7,500 entrants with her design to reflect that “Everyone should be free to express themselves” and she hopes to inspire people to talk about the issues that matter. Saroufim's artwork will be displayed on a globally iconic OOH site and she will receive a €20,000 cash prize.
The Absolut Collectors Community collects Absolut Bottles and Absolut Ads. Absolut have since the launch in 1979 developed over 1000 different bottle designs, sizes and variations. The exact number of bottle variations are not known. Limited edition bottles for specific events or cities are very popular. The Absolut Community is an international network of around 5000 people. Facebook is a major hub for many collectors, both on a local and international level. There are also forum websites like Absolut Regis where collectors show their collection. The bottles are valued higher if they are sealed and unopened. The Collector's community arranges local meetings as well as a biannual trip to Åhus, Sweden. Absolut Regis & Absolut AD are two websites showing of big collections. In 2019 Absolut launched a newsletter for Absolut Collectors.
Absolut Home - The Åhus Villa is The Absolut Company's visitor center/museum located in Åhus, Skåne. The villa, The Engströmska villa is from 1902. The villa was purchased by The Absolut Company in 2016, renovated and opened in August 2018. Through guided tours one can experience the history of Absolut. There is also a bar and a restaurant.
Absolut Art is an online retailer of artworks. They sell limited edition, signed and framed prints by emerging and established artists from around the world.
Absolut Elyx is Absolut's ultra premium vodka. Elyx is made from winter wheat grown on one single estate in southern Sweden. The Råbelöf estate has been cultivating its wheat since the 1400s. The region has the right climate for producing winter wheat, with dry, cold winters and long, warm summers. Elyx is made by hand in a vintage copper column still from 1921. Thousands of copper packets are used sacrificially, removing unwanted compounds and contributing to the final product.
Absolut Peppar (1986) - green bell, chili and jalapeño pepper flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
First flavoured vodka launched by Absolut. Influenced by the popularity of the Bloody Mary in the US during the 1980s, Absolut Peppar was introduced to enable bartenders to skip a step when creating the Bloody Mary Cocktail.
- Absolut Citron (1988) – lemon flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Kurant (1992) – black currant flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Mandrin (1999) – mandarin and orange flavoured vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Vanilia (2003) – vanilla flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Raspberri (2004) – Raspberry flavoured vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Apeach (2005) – Peach flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Pears (2007) - Pear flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Mango (2007) – Mango flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Berry Acai (2010) - Açaí, blueberry and pomegranate flavor vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Äpple (2011) – Apple and ginger flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Lime (2017) – Lime flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Grapefruit (2018) – Grapefruit flavored Vodka. 40% ABV.
Previous Flavored Vodka products no longer produced include:
- Absolut Ruby Red (2006) – Grapefruit Flavored Vodka. 40 ABV.
- Absolut Cilantro (2013) – Coriander and lime flavored Vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Wild Tea (2010) – Tea and elderflower flavored vodka. 40% AV.
- Absolut Hibiskus (2012) – Hibiscus and Pomegranate flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
- Absolut Gräpe (2011) – white grape, dragon fruit and papaya flavored vodka. 40% ABV.
The full product portfolio can be found here
- The Brännvinskungen story of LO Smith, Pelle Berglund, 2017, The publishing house Business History.
- Tungate, Mark (2007). ADLAND. Philadelphia: Kogan Page, Ltd. pp. 133–134. ISBN 0 7494 4837 7.
- Absolut Legacy, book
- ’Absolut Book. The Absolut Vodka Advertising Story’ by Richard W. Lewis
- Lewis, Richard W. (1996). ABSOLUT BOOK. Boston: Journey Editions. p. 65. ISBN 1-885203-32-2.
- Sandomir, Richard (2019-05-10). "Michel Roux, Whose Vodka Success Was Absolut, Is Dead at 78". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
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- "Corporate Art Awards - Corporate winners". 22 November 2017.
- "Mexico reconquers California? Absolut drinks to that!". latimes.com.
- "Tuesday Map: Absolut Reconquista". Foreign Policy.
- "ABSOLUT IDIOCY: RECONQUISTA VODKA". New York Post.
- "La reconquista mexicana de Absolut". LA VANGUARDIA. 7 April 2008.
- "A Vodka Tonic for Mexico's Loss?". TIME.com. 8 April 2008.