History

Liviko has a unique history that has seen it survive wars and challenging times. Throughout the years, Liviko has been in public and private ownership, and from 2000, the alcohol producer belongs to the ambitious NG Investeeringud, where Liviko has become a successful international alcohol group.

 

MASTER CRAFTSMANSHIP

Research-based product development and a high-tech laboratory play an important role alongside the knowledge and skills passed on from master to apprentice for 122 years. The quality of our workshop is attested by Vana Tallinn liqueur, Viru Valge vodka and Crafter’s gins, which have become hallmarks of Estonia. We feel honoured that Estonia is known around the world thanks to products lovingly created by Liviko.

MAMMA ILSE

Distillation technology has been used here since Liviko’s early days. The copper pot still known as Mamma Ilse has been in use for a hundred years, named in honour of Ilse Maar, a long-time master distiller at Liviko. As one of the creators of the legendary liqueur Vana Tallinn, Ilse Maar is affectionately known as the grandmother of Vana Tallinn. The historic pot still has been retired, and can now be seen in a place of honour at the Liviko Museum. The modern pieces of distillation equipment that replaced Mamma Ilse were christened Mahta and Elfride, after Liviko’s distinguished master distillers Mahta Laidvee and Elfride Kingisepp.

Mamma Ilse was also used for the first-ever steam distillation with a botanical basket: this centenarian copper lady did the main work to produce the vodka Rukkilill, created in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.


Historical facts

The oldest drink in Liviko’s product portfolio is the crystal liqueur Kännu Kukk, which has been manufactured using a heated bottling process since 1900. The legendary Vana Tallinn liqueur became one of Estonia’s hallmark products immediately after its creation in 1960.

The trendsetting Crafter’s London Dry Gin was developed by Liviko in 2015. A few years later, Liviko launched the vibrant Crafter’s Aromatic Flower Gin, which added a dash of colour to the increasingly popular gin trend. Liviko’s product innovation continues. Its latest fruits include the Re-crafted Crafter’s fizzy drink series created in 2019 according to the zero waste principle, and establishing a new category in the global beverage industry: Junibeer – juniper berry beer.

  • 2020
    Brown-Forman group has chosen Liviko as the sole representative of its products in Estonia and Latvia.
  • 2020
    Liviko is a rapidly developing international group specialising in premium alcohol, selling its own products in 60 markets and representing the world’s leading premium brands in the Baltic countries. Liviko produces over 70 alcoholic beverages, the best-known of which are Vana Tallinn, Crafter’s, Viru Valge, Hõbe Vodka and Kännu Kukk.
  • 2018
    The Rémy Cointreau Group, a French cognac and brandy producer, has selected Liviko as its official representative and importer in the Baltics.
  • 2010
    The Bacardi-Martini Group has chosen Liviko as the sole representative of its products in Estonia and Latvia.
  • 2008
    In 2008, Liviko acquired subsidiaries in Latvia and Lithuania, laying the groundwork for further rapid development by expanding to the Baltic countries.
  • 2005
    In 2005, Liviko started creating an import portfolio in the wine category. The result is a selection of more than 700 wines and the prestigious Nautimus trademark, which indicates a recommendation by a Liviko sommelier for a wine that is the best value for money in any category.
  • 2000
    In 2000, Liviko was acquired by NG Investeeringud, one of the most successful industrial and trade investment groups in Estonia.
  • 1998
    In 1998, Liviko was the first company in the Estonian food industry to be awarded the ISO 9001 quality certification, which confirms that all production and sales processes are compliant with high standards of quality.
  • 1995
    In 1995, Liviko became a public limited company, and a year later, a joint stock company, AS Liviko.

  • 1983
    The factory’s production volume peaked in 1984, when 22.4 million litres of vodka and liqueur were sold to the internal market of the Soviet Union.
  • 1973
    In 1973, Liviko launches the strong liqueur Balti Džinn, and weaker spirits, such as Lõunamaine.
  • 1962
    In 1962, Estonia’s most famous high-quality vodka, Viru Valge, is created.
  • 1960
    In 1960, the legendary liqueur Vana Tallinn is born, created by the master distiller Ilse Maar, the bottling manager Bernhard Jürno and the distillery specialist Jaan Siimo. Vana Tallinn became Liviko’s flagship from the start: the liqueur with its distinctive taste became a kind of currency and deficit commodity in the Soviet Union, the demand for which at that time was surpassed only by bananas. Estonia continues to be known for its Vana Tallinn also after the restoration of independence: this liqueur is proudly gifted to foreign guests, and happily bought as a souvenir to take abroad.
  • 1950
    The cocktail “Liviko”, created by the master distiller Ilse Maar in the mid-20th century, becomes the name of the company in 1971. Liviko is derived from the Estonian words for a liqueur and vodka cocktail (likööri ja viinakokteil).
  • 1940
    In 1940, the national distillery Riigi Viinatehas was renamed Tallinna Viinatehas. At that time, the distillery produced the vodkas Riigiviin and Laua Viin in 250 ml and 75 ml bottles; these vodkas are still made according to a recipe dating back to the Republic of Estonia before WWII.
  • 1938
    In 1938, the national vodka warehouse Riigi Viinaladu was renamed Riigi Viinatehas, employing 127 people. As befits such a modern and successful institution, the employee dining room at Riigi Viinatehas is more like a restaurant.
  • 1924
    In 1924, a factory outfitted with two production lines and the most modern equipment in the Baltic states started operating, renamed as Riigi Viinaladu. Pictured: a bottling room on the first floor of Riigi Viinaladu.
  • 1921
    Liviko’s earliest predecessor was the distillery Revaler Sprit Fabrik which used to be on Mere puiestee, and which later grew into Tallinna Piiritusetehaste Omanike Ühisus Rosen & Co (Tallinn Distillery Owners’ Association). In 1921, a distillery was established as a separate company at Rosen & Co – the liqueur and spirit factory Tallinna Viinavabrik OÜ. The most renowned drink produced here was Baron Rosen’s Wodka, which was sold in both Berlin and London. The most famous admirer of this drink was the forefather of science fiction, the English writer H. G. Wells.
  • 1900
    The original recipe for Kännu Kukk reached Estonia in 1900, probably from Germany or the Netherlands. In Liviko, this recipe was passed from master to apprentice, and skilled liqueur blenders perfected the timeless art of making crystal liqueur using a heated bottling process.
  • 1898
    On 25 September 1898, the cornerstone was laid for the state vodka warehouse Kroonu Viinaladu No. 1, which marked the beginning of the history of Liviko. The main building of the company, which houses Liviko’s production facility to this day, was constructed in 1898–1900 according to a standard design. It is built from limestone and decorated with neo-Romanesque elements. The architect was Rudolf Otto von Knüpffer. The planned production capacity of the vodka warehouse was 300,000 pails or 3,690,000 litres of vodka per year.

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