BEHIND KARLSSON'S VODKA
In 2001, the family-owned farms of Cape Bjäre, Sweden were at risk of being overrun by resorts and golf courses. A group of local potato farmers met with their neighbor, Peter Ekelund, to discuss the idea of organizing and forming a co-op (Bjäre Hembygd AB). The idea of creating vodka with their extraordinary heirloom potatoes was also discussed. The thought of transferring the unique characteristics of these special potatoes to vodka intrigued Ekelund, who 25 years earlier had helped lead the launch of Absolut Vodka in North America. Ekelund enlisted an old colleague, the legendary Börje Karlsson (Head of Laboratory and Product Development of V&S Group during the development of Absolut) to assist in this endeavor.
Until the late 1970s, all vodka in Sweden had been distilled from potatoes. Since that time, Swedish vodka production, in part due to the success of Absolut, was converted to a grain base. Ekelund and Karlsson’s new project signified the resurrection of a tradition. Although retired, Karlsson liked the concept and was curious to find out if the characteristic properties of different varietals of potato would transfer through to create different vodkas. He also wanted to know if the same potato from a different year would create different vodka, like different vintages of grape produce different wines.
Ekelund completed the senior team with Hans Brindfors, the former Art Director of Carlsson & Broman who designed the Absolut bottle, and Olof Tranvik, who by introducing Absolut to Andy Warhol, helped make it into the icon it is today.
This coalition of family farmers and group of men with significant vodka experience are proud to bring the world Karlsson’s Vodka.