Since the summer of 2016 there is new beverage on the market in Hong Kong that originates in Finland – the legendary Hartwall Original Long Drink. This world’s first long drink was originally developed for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, a very innovative product back then, to say the least: a cocktail in a can, easy to serve and ready to drink.
It has been a Finnish success ever since but only as recently as in 2015 also been taking Sweden by storm.
“Hartwall Original Long Drink was supposed to be served only for the Olympic visitors, but since Finns fell so much in love with it, the production has continued ever since. Moreover, it even created a whole new category of ’long drinks’ in Finland – better known as ’lonkero’ among the Finns”, says Eeva Ignatius, Brand Manager of the Hartwall Original Long Drink.
Hartwall Original Long Drink is a mix of Finnish premium gin and grapefruit soda. “The gin manufacturing process is a carefully cherished artisan work, and the drink is still produced according to the original recipe from 1952.
All the gin ingredients are hand-selected, and the final quality is ensured with triple filtering. The original taste, a mix of gin and grapefruit, is totally unique and cannot be found anywhere in the world.”
Year after year, Hartwall Original Long Drink rules the sales statistic as Top 1 alcoholic beverage in Finland. “It is a true Finnish icon and many Finns consider it as our national drink. Even the package symbolizes our national heritage as the blue and white colours come from the Finnish flag. The thin white stripes on the other hand symbolize the running track of Helsinki Olympic stadium and remind us of the history.”
Now Hartwall Original Long Drink has started to conquer the world, with the long-waited sales started in Sweden in April 2015, resulting in immediate success. At the same time, Hartwall signed a distribution contract in the Netherlands and Belgium.
“Hartwall Original Long Drink was originally invented to be shared with the world and now it is about to happen”, Ignatius concludes.
Now the Finnish “lonkero” is sold in 900 7-Elevens around Hong Kong, as Hartwall earlier in 2016 started cooperation with major distributors in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
In In Taiwan, the local retail store chain Simplemart added Hartwall Original Long Drink to its selection in its 500 stores.
“We were not expecting such huge success. In Hong Kong, for instance, many shops are struggling to meet the high demand. The sales figures of long drink are ten times higher that those of a famous international beer brand that was launched using the same retail channel,” says Matti Ristola, Director of Export at Hartwall.
“The unique taste, great story and easy-to-identify container of Hartwall Original Long Drink have become popular across the world. Furthermore, the long history and strong success of the beverage in the Finnish market give it credibility; before winning over consumers, we must attract distributors to the product,” says Eeva Ignatius.
“Hartwall has a fine history as a provider of Finnish products that spans 180 years. Finns love our brands, and our foothold in the Finnish market is strong. I believe that many of our high-quality brands that are successful in Finland have what it takes to succeed also abroad. The success story of Hartwall Original Long Drink is a good example of this. Exports are an important part of our growth strategy, and we will continue to investing in them in the future,” Hartwall CEO Kalle Järvinen says.