More than half of the raw materials we use come from Finland: quality and availability play a central role in our procurement, and a significant part of the raw materials come from local operators.
According to UNESCO*, Finland has the world’s cleanest water. Salpausselkä esker in the Southern Finland was shaped by the glacial epoch. The highest peak of the esker is located in Lahti where lies an immensely rich groundwater area. From the depths of the esker, wells an exceptional resource, the basis of our business, a precious treasure – Finnish water.
Our history covers almost two centuries. Innovations have played an important part since the beginning.
It all started with mineral waters
On 2 February 1836, Hartwall began operating as the Nordic countries’ first mineral water plant after Victor Hartwall Ph.D. was authorised by the Senate to produce and sell hot and cold mineral waters. Victor’s son August Ludvig Hartwall continued his father’s work. He started up street vending of water in Helsinki, initially from wagons and later also from kiosks. In the late 1860s, soft drinks were created by mixing mineral water with sugar-sweetened juice.
Hartwall Original Gin Long Drink was launched in 1952 for the Helsinki Olympics, having been developed to ease the workload of restaurant staff serving Olympic tourists. The Hartwall Original Long Drink also proved to be popular among Finns and it was thereafter stocked by Alko stores throughout the country.
Brewing since the 1960's
Hartwall entered the brewing business in 1966, when it acquired the Lappeenranta-Lauritsala brewery, which produces Karjala beer. The company entered the business at the right time, because in 1969 the sale of medium-strength beer, previously only available in Alko stores, was permitted in grocery stores.
In the 1960s, 70s and 80s Hartwall expanded by acquiring other Finnish breweries, including Lapin Kulta in Tornio, Aura in Turku, and Mallasjuoma in Lahti.
In 1991 Hartwall and the Swedish group Pripps Bryggeriet established Baltic Beverages Holding. BBH acquired majority shareholdings of leading breweries in the countries of the former Soviet Union. In Russia and the Baltic countries, BBH quickly achieved the position of market leader. Hartwall was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, due to growth and interest from international investors.
In 1999 Hartwall entered into a cooperation agreement with PepsiCo, as a result of which Pepsi’s market share has grown considerably higher in Finland than in many other European countries.
Hartwall took another great step in the beverage market in 2002 when it merged with UK-based Scottish & Newcastle.
The Hartwall Lahti ultra-modern production plant and logistics centre opened in 2003.
In 2008 HEINEKEN and Carlsberg acquired Scottish & Newcastle, and Hartwall became part of the HEINEKEN Group for five years.
In august 2013 Hartwall was bought by Royal Unibrew Group, a leading regional player in a number of markets in Western and Eastern Europe.
Today, Hartwall is still the innovative leader of the beverage industry in Finland. The company has a strong portfolio of brands and it is continually developing new products for consumers’ changing needs.