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Alcohol leads Finnish food exports

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In the small town of Isokyrö in Ostrobothnia, rye-based gin and whisky maker Kyrö Distillery Company is growing so quickly that its one million euro turnover for last year is set to quadruple in 2016.

Napue gin, is flying off the shelves in Finland and gaining an export following. Napue was named “the world’s best gin” at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in the UK in 2015.

Kyrö Distillery founder and CEO Miika Lipiäinen says that the local water, grains, berries and herbs they use are all world class.

“…counter to what some may claim, Finns do know how to brand and successfully take products to world markets,” says Miika Lipiäinen.

For the third year in a row, Finnish food exports are being led by alcoholic beverages. Demand for unique products as well as public and private funding to support Finnish exports has helped.

According to Esa Wrang, Finpro’s director of the Food from Finland programme, Russia was previously such a big export customer, that many Finnish firms focused all their resources there, neglecting other markets.

“Asia is full of potential with China, Japan and South Korea prime markets for alcoholic beverage exports” says Wrang.

In ten years Lipiäinen believes Kyrö Distillery will be a serious contender in the top-ten export markets, including the US and Canada: “When people think of rye-based drinks, they’ll think of Kyrö,” predicts Lipiäinen.