Swedish Vodka Brands

Vodka from Sweden: Your essential guide to the best Swedish vodka brands

Vodka is a big deal in the Nordic region, and besides Finland, Swedish vodka brands are probably the most famous from this part of the world. Vodka from Sweden has a distinct taste that is hard to replicate, and you will find it in liquor stores across the globe.

Hard liquor has inspired people from other parts of the world to make their own drinks, too. For example, it was a Swedish immigrant who introduced Malört to the world after moving to the US in the 20th century.

While many of the Swedish vodka brands that we will discuss are a little older, some drinks companies have become particularly innovative in recent years. A selection of companies started out by selling other alcoholic beverages before entering the vodka market with unique flavors.

In this article, you will learn all you need to know about the best Swedish vodka brands. We’ll discuss the main companies, along with talking a little more about how Swedes drink vodka themselves.

Does that sound interesting to you? If so, let’s hop in.

Is Swedish vodka good?

The answer to this question depends on what you do and don’t like. Vodka from Sweden tends to have a pretty distinct taste; it often feels stronger than drinks of the same kind that you’ll find in other countries.

With that being said, not all Swedish vodkas are identical. You will find numerous flavors nowadays, including strawberry and lime. Flavored forms of vodka from Sweden are typically sweeter; if you don’t like the taste of ordinary vodka, you’ll want to consider opting for one of these instead.

Each brand of Swedish vodka also tastes different from one another. So, if you don’t like one, you can always find something else that does interest you. Our tip is to start with smaller amounts if you’re not used to how strong your drink will taste.

How do Swedes drink vodka?

While some people will turn to vodka as their preferred drink for nights out in Sweden, it isn’t usually something you’d drink weekly. Instead, several Swedes reserve vodka for specific occasions throughout the year; beer is the popular weekend choice for many.

One of the main events where you’ll see vodka present is around Christmas — especially at the Christmas lunch. If you’re ever invited to a Swedish Christmas party, you can expect to see Akvavit at the table.

Vodka is also often present for Easter lunches in Sweden. Like Christmas, you will typically see Akvavit — and you can expect that a lot of it will be consumed on this particular occasion.

As you might expect for a region where the winters are long and dark, Midsummer is a huge occasion in the Nordic region. The Swedes are particularly excited for this event, which marks the longest day of the year.

In the far north of the country, you can enjoy partying with the sun that does not set.

Like Christmas and Easter, many Swedes consume Akvavit on Midsummer.

One thing worth noting about vodka in Sweden is that you need to be at least 20 years old if you want to purchase it from a bar or at Systembolaget.

Which vodkas come from Sweden?

Having read this far, you should have a good idea of what vodka from Sweden is like. Now, we’ll take a closer look at some of the main Swedish vodka brands. These aren’t in any particular order, so you should determine which you’re interested in trying.

Swedish Vodka Brands

Absolut

If you have only heard of one vodka brand from Sweden, it’s probably Absolut. This is a pretty simple translation to English; the word means “absolute”. The company is one of the older ones on this list; it was first founded in 1879.

Absolut’s initial aim was to make the liquor scene in Stockholm more competitive. At that time, the country had a monopoly; Absolut was sold to consumers for less than what the monopoly’s vodka cost.

At the time, Absolut also gave people free trips to the brewery by boat.

Selling alcohol in Sweden was challenging for many brands until recently, but Absolut has maintained a stronghold in the country’s liquor industry. However, it has also branched out to several other countries — including the United States and Great Britain.

Each year, Absolut makes more than 100 million liters of vodka. The main factory is in Åhus, which is in the south of Sweden — and not to be confused with Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city.

You can find Absolut vodka in many grocery and liquor stores across the world. Today, Absolut is a key part of the Pernod Ricard group. In addition to its standard unflavored drinks, you will find a couple of flavored versions.

Kopparberg

Kopparberg is best known for its sweet ciders, which have become a hit across the world. And if you were to choose one cider brand from Sweden that you’ve heard of, it would likely be this one. But did you know that Kopparberg also makes vodka?

Kopparberg hasn’t made vodka for too long; the company only began delving into this field in 2021. Before that, it had branched from its standard ciders by offering multiple flavors of gin.

If you want to try Kopparberg vodka, you can choose from two flavors. Strawberry and lime is perhaps the most famous of its vodkas, but if that doesn’t take your fancy, you can try the lemon vodka instead.

While you won’t find any other Kopparberg vodka flavors at the time of writing in October 2022, that might change in the future. Keep your eyes open for any potential changes in this respect.

Svedka

Svedka isn’t as established as Absolut, but it has still made significant moves and become a popular vodka from Sweden in many countries. The company is slightly younger than Kopparberg, having been founded in 1998.

Much of Svedka’s operations focus on the US market, and it’s owned by the American company Constellation Brands. Like Absolut, you will find an unflavored version of its vodka.

However, you can also enjoy several flavored editions — including lemon (known as citron in official branding), vanilla, and raspberry. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can opt for the pina colada version.

Svedka joined Constellation Brands after a significant purchase in 2007. The company’s drinks are around 40% alcohol.

Karlsson’s

Karlsson’s is a little different from the other already-mentioned brands selling vodka from Sweden. It makes its drinks using potatoes, which is a rarity among vodka brands. The company’s founder is Börje Karlsson, where the company gets its name from.

Karlsson’s originates from the Southern province of Skåne, which is a significant part of Sweden’s drinking landscape. The company is relatively new, having originally been founded in 2007. Today, its distillery is still in Sweden.

If you buy one of Karlsson’s drinks, you will notice that the bottle has a unique and minimalistic design. The company has released several forms of vodka since it originally made its way onto the market.

The key members in Karlsson’s founding have worked for Absolut in the past.

Swedish Vodka Brands

Pinky Vodka

Pinky Vodka is another relatively new drink on our list, with the company originally becoming a part of the Swedish vodka scene in 2008. It prides itself on sophistication, and its drink has gone through five rounds of distillation.

The drinks are made using spring water and wheat, while various flowers are responsible for the pink color you see.

Pinky Vodka sells its drinks in a bottle that looks like it belongs in a high-end nightclub. You will find the vodka in various places online, and getting the drink delivered to your place is straightforward.

The drink is available in multiple countries, including Italy and the Netherlands.

Swedish Vodka Brands
Credit: Argus fin

Skåne Akvavit

You will find several forms of Akvavit throughout Scandinavia. In Denmark, Aalborg Akvavit is one of the most famous flavors. But if you’re looking for Swedish vodka brands, consider checking out Skåne Akvavit instead.

Skåne Akvavit was one of the early movers in the Swedish vodka game, along with Absolut and O.P. Anderson — the latter of which we will discuss later in this article. As you might have expected from the name, it originates from Skåne.

The company has been around since 1931.

Skåne Akvavit’s vodka uses fennel, along with star anise and caraway. Its drinks are distilled in Sundsvall, which is on Sweden’s east coast and roughly in the center of the country.

Over the years, Skåne Akvavit has had several owners. Finnish company Altia was one of those, before it sold Skåne Akvavit to Galatea Spirits in 2021. After that, Altia founded the Norwegian company Arcus to create Anora Group.

O.P. Anderson

O.P. Anderson is the next Swedish vodka brand on our list, and it was founded toward the end of the 19th century. The vodka originates from 1891, when it was originally known as Gammal Fin 1ma Akvavit.

First glimpses were seen at the Gothenburg Exhibition Fair; the drink originates from Sweden’s second-largest city.

O.P. Anderson remains one of the most popular Swedish vodka brands to this day. The drink is 40% alcohol and spiced with several ingredients, including caraway and various other things.

O.P. Anderson is something you will almost certainly see at major celebrations in Sweden. The O.P. Anderson Akvavit is its most popular drink, but you will also find O.P. Anderson Klar — which looks more like vodka you might be used to seeing if you drink the likes of Smirnoff.

In addition to its vodkas, O.P. Anderson also makes a variety of gins.

Cape North Vodka

While many of the Swedish vodka brands we’ve listed so far are still produced in Sweden, Cape North Vodka is an anomaly in this respect. The drink is instead made in France. Having said that, it’s owned by a Swedish family.

Cape North Vodka dates back to 2008, and while the drink itself is produced in France, the water used to make it comes from Sweden. The grain in the drinks, however, is French.

Cape North Vodka has a taste that you would typically associate with vodka, and it has a smell that’s something similar to a combination of vanilla and citrus. The drink’s alcohol volume is 40%.

Renat

Renat is another famous Swedish vodka brand, and while many of the drinks on our list are around 40%, Renat is a little less intense at 37.5%. The drink uses ingredients from Västragötaland county, which is in the western part of Sweden and where you will find Gothenburg.

Until 1979, Renat was known as Absolutely Pure Spirits. The drink has won several awards, including enjoying success at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) twice in the mid-2000s.

Swedish Vodka Brands
Credit: Maria Eklind

Spirit of Hven

Hven is a small island between Denmark and Sweden that is very easy to miss; you can easily see it from the mainland of both countries, but not many people choose to visit it. Nonetheless, it’s a hidden gem that is worth exploring.

And when we talk about Swedish vodka brands, it’s also where the name Spirit of Hven originates from.

Quite uniquely for our list, the Spirit of Hven vodka is produced using organic ingredients. The drink consists of 40% alcohol volume, and you can find it in several places online if you’re unable to visit the island.

Swedish Vodka Brands

Purity Vodka

Rounding up our list of Swedish vodka brands is Purity Vodka. The company produces a selection of different vodka drinks, one of which was named the World’s Best Vodka in 2019. Its distillery today is in Southern Sweden; you will find it at Ellinge Castle.

Purity Vodka prides itself on using organic ingredients, and it also uses slow distilling to ensure that its drinks meet the necessary standards for flavor and quality alike.

In addition to its selection of vodkas, Purity also produces a variety of gins.

Swedish vodka brands are different

Swedish vodka brands are ever-evolving, and the Swedes are proficient drinkers of the stuff — especially on major occasions. You will find a wide selection of companies producing vodka from Sweden, including a range of newer ones producing multiple flavors for you to enjoy.

The best vodka brands from Sweden all have their own unique ways of distilling and making their drinks, which makes for one of the world’s most exciting vodka scenes. You will find a large number of producers in the south of the country, but that isn’t universally the case.

Even if you don’t live in Sweden, you should still be able to find a good selection of vodka brands — and you can always look online as well.

Swedish cider is also a huge deal, arguably more so outside of the country than domestically. You probably know Kopparberg and Rekorderlig, but those are only a couple of many. You can learn more about the others here.

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