Brown-Forman allies with Finlandia Vodka

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HELSINKI--The Finnish Government has approved Brown-Forman's $83 million payment for a 45% stake in a new Helsinki company, Finlandia Vodka Worldwide (FVW), which will serve as a global marketing vehicle for the Finlandia vodka brand. State-owned Altia will hold the remaining 55% stake.

The driving force behind FVW is to raise the profile of the Finlandia brand to the status of a premium global vodka.

FVW will have worldwide marketing rights to the Finlandia vodka trademark. Brown-Forman will distribute and represent Finlandia vodka all over the world, with the exception of Finland, the Nordic countries and the Baltics.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman's portfolio of brands includes Jack Daniel's, Canadian Mist and Southern Comfort.

Finlandia vodka is one of Finland's best-known exports. The product was launched in the U.S. market in 1971. In Europe, Finlandia vodka's core markets are Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia. Outside Europe, the company focuses on markets in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico and Central America.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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