This week, Long Drink announced the gin-based RTD drink inspired by the original Finnish heritage drink closure of its $ 25 million growth fundraiser in the states.
Dating back to 1952, the Finnish long drink was first created for the Olympic Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland. The country still retreated from World War II, but the government wanted to provide a unique drink to the influx of tourists and participants, and therefore they ordered the creation of what is now known as the long drink (long drink), a citrus-forward, gin-based recipe (the traditional long-drink flavor is a carbonated blend of grapefruit and gin).
It got its name “long drink” when it was created with the same amount of spirits as a traditional cocktail, but mixed into a long glass. In modern times, this is a Finnish staple for the locals, from the bar to the sauna, and it they show with pride to their visitors. This is how Evan Burns, one of the co-founders of Long Drink, was introduced to the drink and seized an opportunity to expand his presence outside the Nordic country.
“We thought the story of long drinks, which was the best kept secret for the Nordics, was something Americans would love, especially since they would love the actual drink,” Burns said of premium spirits.
The American entrepreneur only visited Finland after meeting two Finnish students on their state study abroad. During this time, their friendship expanded to include Mikael Taipale, who ended up traveling with Burns to Finland, where Burns was immersed in the traditions of this Nordic country. Burns says to this day, the moment from his journey that instilled the most lasting impression was to taste Finnish long drinks for the first time.
“I tried it and immediately asked them to tell me more about what this product was,” Burns said. “We then had it several times during the trip, different brands of long drinks; whether it was having a drink at a restaurant or in the sauna (a traditional Finnish thing to do after dinner).”
From here, Burns developed the idea of bringing Finland’s national drink to America. In 2018, Burns, along with his Finnish co-founders Mikael Taipale, Sakari Manninen and Ere Partanen, burned Long Drink in New York City and brought a new category of drinks to the states (the quartet stressed that this is not a cocktail, it is a long drink ).
Today, in addition to closing a $ 25 million fundraiser, the brand is in 40 states and backed by celebrity investors, including actor Miles Teller, music producer Kygo and professional golfer Rickie Fowler, who are also co-owners.
“I fell in love with the taste right away. I think it’s the perfect combination of flavor and rapid cooling; the hum is also amazing, which is what I think makes people want more,” said Miles Teller, who tried Long Drink for the first time shortly after the brand was launched in 2018. Teller is now a co-owner and is also responsible for introducing Long Drink to Kygo.
“I really like that it’s not just another canned drink, it’s really an ode to a legendary Finnish drink, and I wanted to help bring it to the United States,” Kygo explained of his interest in engaging in branded after tasting drinks with a “refreshing kick” at Teller’s wedding. Along with becoming a co-owner, Kygo and his manager and business partner, Myles Shear, at Palm Tree Crew, was a major investor in this round of funding. “Kygo and I often have Long Drink in hand, so of course it ends up on our social media platforms,” Shear said. “We love being able to share this drink with our audience.”
The partner explained that celebrity partners were never the intention behind the brand, but he said: “We were always looking for influential people who we can educate about the product and its background, and then hope they will tell that story to their friends.” And that’s what happened to Teller, Kygo and Fowler as the trio’s friendship developed into a business venture with Long Drink.
“Unlike most well-known brands that exist just to enrich the celebrity by using their image, our celebrities are involved in reinforcing an authentic story that is so much bigger than just their own image, and because they love the taste. and history, “Burns stressed.
As the celebrities inherently increased the rapid expansion of the brand, Taipale explained that the main motivation around the latest fundraiser was to ensure that Long Drink had enough capital to support this growth from existing and new markets. “Especially with the global can shortage, we wanted to ensure that we have plenty of inventory produced ready to meet demand at all times, and frontloading this inventory obviously binds a lot of capital,” Taipale said.
Partanen added that this week’s performance was a dream come true. “Bringing Finland’s national drink to the United States was like playing in the NHL – as all children in Finland dream of.”
Although spiky seltzer and craft beer are an impenetrable category, Long Drink apparently penetrated the ranks, with the company citing 400 percent growth in the first quarter of 2021. Shear shared his enthusiasm with the aged drink as it underscores co-founders’ first mission: to bring Finland’s national drink for America. “I’m excited about this up close as it will help us grow and be accessible to everyone in the United States,” Shear said.