Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas started making beverages in 1995, soft drinks first, made by following traditional recipes, but soon ciders followed and already in 1998 their ‘Oiva’- cider was chosen as the best cider in the Nordic countries.
Seeing the recent success, in 2001 a new modern brewery was built in the town of Laitila. Since then, Laitilan holds an unprecedented record of brewing only by using wind power in the production, the first fully wind-powered brewery in the world and as such, Laitilan has been nominated as the greenest brewery in Finland.
In the same year, Kukko Pils was launched. It was the first gluten-free, 100% malt beer in the world and has been awarded numerous times: “We brew ten varieties of Kukko beer of which seven are gluten-free”, says Marko Mikkola, export sales director. “The company has been growing fast and today the brewery is many times bigger than it was in 2001, producing 20 million liters of drinks. We started exporting in 2016, with the first container of Kukko Pils then shipped to Texas”.
Among their products, Kukko Pils is the most popular product, closely followed by their Helles and IPA. According to Mr Mikkola, Kukko is the second most valued beer brand sold in Finland and Laitilan brewery is the most valued brewery in Finland. “When we started brewing Kukko, there was only one aim: to make a great beer that is better than anything available in the market. The fact that Kukko is gluten-free was noticed much later when customers hinted that Kukko is, for some reason, also suitable for those, who cannot take gluten. Today we know the reason for this, but naturally the brewing process of Kukko is our well-guarded secret. We use only the best ingredients available, water, barley malt, hops and yeast”, Mr Mikkola says.
Laitilan brewery is well-known in Finland for their way of doing everything differently: “We have been the first in many things, such as developing a gluten-free malt beer, powering our brewery with wind, starting packing beer into cans, etc. We have become a craft brewery that speaks on behalf of all small breweries in Finland. We are loud and decision makers at all levels like to listen what we have to say”.
This year Laitilan brewery is taking the leap to Asia and launching their products this autumn in Singapore: “We know that Asian people value tasty beverages made with the purest ingredients, just like they value delicious food. We also believe that our story and background in Finland will be valued on the Asian market. I have previously lived in Singapore and I am very found of this country, so when I started as an export sales director in March, the decision to chose Singapore came quite easily. This is such a fascinating multicultural city, always looking into the future, just like we are at Laitilan brewery”.