February 14th is all about friends

A day full of all things pink. We even have a gin that would fit that picture. But the truth is, in Finland Valentine’s Day is all about friendships rather than lovers. And that brings us back to that one night in the sauna, back in 2012.

The origins of Valentine’s Day are so dark and gloomy we’ll skip the story which involves animals being killed and women getting whipped. But one thing connects us to history. Apparently The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked". Sounds pretty similar to our company origin story.

The reason we are bringing all this up now is the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Which in Finland actually has very little to do with romances and love. V Day is all about friends. We even call it Ystävänpäivä – Friend’s Day. And as it so happens, the Kyrö Distillery was started by five friends. They happened to be drinking rye whisky in a sauna one weekend. A very Finnish thing to do (only you usually have a beer or a long drink instead of whisky). Nonetheless conversations in the sauna are usually deep. It is common knowledge that Finns are quiet, don’t share too many secrets. But in the sauna it all changes. We talk about dreams, we talk about sorrows, we talk about lovers. These five friends ended up talking about the mystery of no one making rye whisky in Finland even when we Finns eat around six times more rye than any other nation. And before the sun came up the next morning, they had come up with the idea to start their own distillery in a land of strict alcohol laws and loads of rye.

This year one of them is spending the day in Berlin. Cocktails are involved. One is in London. We bet they have all kinds of chocolates wrapped with pink ribbons and sealed with a photo of smiling William and Kate. In Finland we’ll spend that day surrounded by friends, colleagues and family. We celebrate the people in our lives who make every day count; the ones who are there for the good times but most importantly, for the bad times. 

If you have a special loved one, be sure to shake up some Manhattans and celebrate love. But believe us when we say, the day isn’t half bad spent with friends either.