Skip to content

Finnish brewery launches Nato branded beer

The Savonlinna-based brewery made the final decision to go ahead with the idea over the weekend.

The beer is made by Olaf Brewing, a firm based in Savonlinna, and marks the company's first foray into world events, at least in marketing terms. Image: Olaf Brewing Oy

As Finland takes the initial steps in applying for Nato membership, a small brewery has launched a new Nato-branded beer.

Dubbed Otan (the French variation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the beer's blue label features a cartoon figure wearing a metal armour suit, emblazoned with the Nato flag's compass symbol.

The beverage is made by Olaf Brewing, a firm based in Savonlinna, and marks the company's first foray into world events, at least in marketing terms.

"In the past we haven't taken much of a stand in political affairs. Now, however, the majority of Finns are behind the Nato decision. That's why we dared to take such a step, and it didn't really require a lot of daring, we just decided to do it," the company's CEO Petteri Vänttinen said.

The company had been considering rolling out a Nato-branded beer for some time, but the final decision was reached over the weekend as it became clear that Finland was officially applying to become members of the military alliance.

"We wouldn't have done it if we didn't think it was good for Finland and Finland's security," Vänttinen explained, noting that it is easy for small breweries to make quick decisions.

"Never again"

The brewery's location in Savonlinna also played a role in the birth of its Nato-branded beer, as the southeast town was bombed by Russian planes during World War II. Vänttinen said that his grandmother still remembers the bombs exploding in the city centre.

"We hope that after the Nato decision, such events will never have to be seen again in Savonlinna or Finland," Vänttinen said.

The company's new beer has seen a large amount of interest from shopkeepers and restaurants.

"The phone has been ringing all morning and people have been asking 'when can you deliver?'" he explained. "It's pretty wild."

Riikka-Maria Lemminki, the head of Marketing Finland, said she was not aware of any other Nato-branded marketing campaigns in Finland. But she likes the idea.

"The majority of people are pro-Nato, so I think marketers will stick to it," she said, noting that smaller firms are able to move more quickly than their larger competitors because they don't need to think about their decisions from absolutely every angle.

However, the beer's French name, 'Otan,' could theoretically be problematic in terms of Finland's strict policies on the marketing of alcohol, as the Finnish word means "I will have."

"It's a bit of a grey area there. A lawyer or communications representative should probably take a look at where the line is — whether you want to say Nato is French or whether you are encouraging people to have a beer," Lemminki noted.