Please tell us about Finlandia.
B-F: Brown-Forman is the 80% owner of the Finlandia
brand in a joint venture with the Finnish government entity,
Altia Group, which owns the other 20%. Altia is the exclusive
manufacturer and bottler of Finlandia for the world. All
Finlandia is produced and bottled in Finland. Brown-Forman
is the 100% worldwide Marketing and Distribution agent for
Finlandia. Finlandia is exclusively managed, marketed, and
sold through Brown-Forman sales and marketing employees,
and our distributor and wholesale network, throughout the
Finlandia Vodka was the world's first premium imported
vodka. It was launched in 1970, before Absolut and any other
of the international premium brands. It was launched as
an expression of the best the world had to offer in producing
the ultimate expression of vodka. The clean, cold, and purity
of the country of Finland, pure glacial spring water, the
finest six-row barley, and a technologically superior continuous
distillation process were all combined to provide consumers
with the ultimate vodka experience.
Finlandia hired a noted Finnish glass designer to create
a work of art that would serve as the package for Finlandia.
The legendary midnight sun, the white reindeer of Finland's
Arctic Circle, and clean Nordic lines are all featured in
a glacial ice bottle which represents the purity of Finland
and the pure clean taste of Finlandia Vodka."
What are the varieties and suggested retail price?
B-F: Finlandia Vodka is marketed in two Classic
varieties, 40%abv (80 proof) and 50% abv (100 proof), in
addition to two flavored varieties (Finlandia Cranberry
and Finlandia Lime. Finlandia's suggested price is about
US$20 or the equivalent. It is usually priced with Absolut
in the market.
IBN: Are there any new products
coming to market in 2003? What are your targeted demographics
B-F: We have a new package that will be unveiled
during the Fall of 2003 in the USA. Our target audience
is socially active men and women, 25-39, who are fashion
and style conscious.
IBN: What is your added value
when put up against the competition?
B-F: Our added value is the essence of our brand
- purity of taste, product, and spirit. Consumers tell us
that Finlandia is the purest vodka in the world by virtue
of its origin and imagery.
Finlandia pure clean taste will go up against any vodka
in the world. The reality is that consumers are looking
for more than just taste, and that is where style and personality
come into play
Finlandia has a new ad campaign that is bringing a spotlight
on the brand like never before. Finlandia is "purely
refreshing", and the tagline "Refresh" is
prompting consumers to discover the heritage and imagery
of this amazingly authentic luxury brand.
What was your market share in 2001 and 2002 in the USA and
worldwide? How many cases did you sell? Is 2003 going to be
a good year? Why?
B-F: Finlandia sells about 2 million cases globally,
and is the number two premium imported vodka behind Absolut.
This year will be a fantastic year with our new "glacial
ice" bottle, a new ad campaign, and a number of yet-to-be-announced
We all know that Finlandia is the new James Bond Vodka. This
must have been a great but certainly expensive product placement.
Are you satisfied with the promotional effects?
B-F: Finlandia was honored to be chosen as James
Bond's vodka in the 20th installment of the world's most
successful film franchise. One of the misconceptions is
that this was a paid product placement. It was not.
MGM Studios in Hollywood and EON Productions in London
chose Finlandia from a selected list of the world's best
luxury brands. James Bond is not for sale. Products can't
buy their way into the world of Bond. Bond only chooses
the finest cars, gadgets, women, and of course vodka.
Finlandia's product quality and brand image was what caught
the producers eye. Finlandia is from the land of cold, ice,
and purity. This is a recurring theme in Bond films and
a perfect fit with the franchise. It is a brand with no
pretense and the ultimate understated elegance.
do you see the evolution of the market and prices for the
premium Vodka industry?
B-F: The USA is the world's largest Premium Vodka
market. Over the past 5 years, the category has segmented
and evolved into Premium, Super-Premium, and Ultra-Premium
sectors. Other markets around the world are beginning to
see this same segmentation occur. The market will continue
to develop and evolve analogous to fashion and luxury brands.
IBN: What impact does the Internet have on your business?
B-F: The internet is a source of information and
imagery for consumers around the world. Our industry doesn't
transact a lot of business on the internet, but consumers
make brand choices and decisions based on what they find
on the internet.
Global Marketing Director
Wine: Still and sparkling wines from California
Spirits: Bourbon, Cordial, Liquors, Rum, Scotch,
Tequila, Vodka, Whisky
Main Brands: Bolla Wines, Bonterra Wines, Canadian
Mist, Fetzer Wines, Finlandia Vodka, Jack Deniel's,
Korbel California Champagnes, Sonoma-Cutrer Wines, Southern
Comfort, Woodford Reserve
Brown-Forman is a diversified producer and marketer
of fine quality consumer products. Brown-Formans
current chairman and CEO, Owsley Brown II, is the great-grandson
of the founder. Brown-Forman employs 7,000 people worldwide.
In fiscal 2003, the company reported net sales of $2.3
billion and net income of $245 million. Brown-Forman
has offices and/or joint ventures in 40 cities and 25
countries across the globe.