Koskenkorva is vodka that is made sustainably

koskenkorva vodka sustainability

In the village of Koskenkorva, sustainability is a way of life. Since 2015 we have been using the barley husks as a source of energy at our distillery. This has decreased our carbon dioxide emissions significantly and we are now 60% self-sufficient in terms of steam generation for the distillery. We have our own bioenergy plant at Koskenkorva, especially designed to use the barley husks that are left over from the distillation, as fuel for steam generation.

The bioenergy power plant is the first of its kind in Finland. The distillery is actively participating in the development of renewable energy. You can read below in more detail about how we work with circular economy, barley & our farmers. Meanwhile we are working to get to this last 0,01% of our recycling rate.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY

All in all, we work sustainably but we have a special focus on what we call circular economy. In addition to grain spirit, our plant produces starch and raw materials for animal feed. Even the carbon dioxide generated in the process is collected and used in greenhouse cultivation.

We also have our own bioenergy power plant. It uses barley husks as fuel and produces steam energy that is then used in distillation.

The ashes are used in the nearby barley fields as a fertilizer. And thanks to the renewable fuel, we have been able to decrease our carbon dioxide emissions remarkably.  

Altia, the company behind Koskenkorva vodka, cooperates with the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) to promote sustainable agriculture and protect the Baltic Sea and other waterways.  For this sustainability work Altia and our distillery, the Koskenkorva plant, were awarded the Green Company of the Year award in the 2018 Spirits Business Green Awards. Yes, we are proud of that.

Local farmers

Pasi, Matti, Jaakko and Maija are among the almost 1500 farmers contributing to the making of Koskenkorva vodka. In the village of Koskenkorva, the craft of cultivating barley has been passed on from generation to generation.

Altia encourages the local farmers to maximize the efficiency of farming, to use nutrients sensibly and to monitor the barley during the growth season to ensure its viability.

The company also helps farmers in areas such as performing plot-specific nutrient balance calculations. With these calculations, it is possible to determine the amount of nutrients introduced to the fields by fertilizers and the amount of nutrients removed during the harvest.

And why does that matter? Farmers can use this information in their nutrient calculations. The larger the field’s crop yield, the more efficiently the plants tie up nutrients in the harvested crop. Otherwise, if the nutrients are left in the soil, they will be washed off into waterways causing eutrophication.

In a nutshell, a high yield of good quality barley and environmentally friendly farming go hand in hand.

The northernmost barley in the world

Koskenkorva is made of the northernmost barley in the world. Barley provides the best harvest in the arctic climate of the village. We use custom barley varieties, such as Saana and Elmeri, that have been developed for the short growing season of Finland.

The summer days are so long that for almost a month the sun doesn’t set at all and all that abundant light enhances the enzymatic properties of the barley.

Most of the barley we use is sourced locally within a 200 km radius of the Koskenkorva village. Barley also enables a clean fermentation and distillation process which requires less washing and less water.

Pure spring water

The other key ingredient and one of the main reasons our vodka tastes so smooth is the 100% unfiltered and unprocessed pure spring water. The water in Finland is known of its exceptional quality. Water from rain and melting snow flows through the ridges of Salpausselkä and its sandy soil cleans the water naturally. The effect of the ground and the lack of chemical treatment give the water a fresh taste and clear color.

The water quality is examined regularly by an external laboratory.

The water is pumped from seven to eight meters below the ground to the Rajamäki bottling plant where it’s added to the grain spirit. To keep the exceptional water quality, Altia protects the water abstraction areas by owning land, limiting construction in the area and establishing environmental protection.

State-of-the-art distillation

The Koskenkorva distillery has a state-of-the-art distillation process that uses a highly developed producing technique that allows for an exceptional material efficiency. The process can use 100% of the barley grain and the production runs nonstop for 350 days a year.

Our continuous distillation uses altogether 9 columns. This raises the distillation efficiency up to 99%. It has several advantages over regular batch distillation such as the ability to distill larger amounts more efficiently. There also isn’t any need for unnecessary washing. This decreases water consumption, chemical and energy use, and ensures uniform quality. And finally, it means a 100% unfiltered pure spirit after the distillation.