This spring, when Kaska first hit its local market in Finland, it created a small, but visible phenomenon. Now the Helsinki-based brand is expanding internationally and about half of the second release is heading to Hong Kong, where its already garnered considerable intrigue.
Founded by two Helsinki-based friends, Eetu Topo and Fred Karlsson, Kaska is a 15% ABV distilled spirit flavoured with spruce needles and lemon. They decided to enter the burgeoning low-alcohol drink sector and its been a hit seemingly from the start.
“We received a bunch of queries and interest before officially launching the product for the first time,” says Topo. “That interest only intensified after our initial batch sold out so quickly, but we are trying to keep calm and focus on markets with the most potential at this stage. Hong Kong seems like a good option, partially because we are also planning to use 15% of our sales to fund human rights organizations in the area,” he continues.
The two friends believe that low ABV spirits will become the new “normal.” “Our name, Kåska, comes from the Finnish word meaning ‘because.’ Because drinking has changed, and it’s time for spirits to change too,” explains Karlsson. “We think that in the future, more and more general spirits are going to be lighter on ethanol, and focusing mainly on flavour and experience. Kåska is just one of the first companies to do that.”
Kaska has created a small phenomenon in it’s local Finland, which has forced the small start-up to really push their production schedule. Making the spirit takes a few weeks more than traditional spiced distillates due to its unusual manufacturing methods. “We went through 70 prototypes and recipes with a group of local and international industry professionals to create Kåska,” Topo says. “Getting a full flavour experience requires a different approach to distillation, but in the near future we should be able to keep up with the demand. Right now selling out is just a positive problem to have,” he concludes.
The first product of the company is a light, sugar free and distilled spruce & lemon spirit with 15% alcohol by volume, “Kåska” which is designed to be mixed into low-alcohol cocktails. 15% of the Kåska spirit sales revenue is used to support organizations working against loneliness. Kåska was released for retail on Monday 18th of May.