Viru Valge wins gold medal in prestigious London competition

Viru Valge, a high-quality grain-based Estonian vodka, has taken the gold at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London, beating Finlandia Platinum Vodka into second place.

The jury described Viru Valge as having a pure, fresh and clear taste whose initially light and refined aroma is followed by stronger notes. The harmonious structure of the vodka was also praised by the jury.

“This gold medal is testament to the fact that Viru Valge is a world-class drink,” said Janek Kalvi, chairman of the management board of AS Liviko. “It’s a huge sign of recognition for our development team that we won gold for a traditional Estonian vodka made from local grain. We exact much higher standards than the European Union´s norms required for spirits in making Viru Valge, and this has shown us that we’re right to do so – as the symbol of Estonian vodka, Viru Valge can compete with, and outdo, the most recognised and valued brands on the international market.”

Liviko has been exclusively using high-quality Estonian grain in the manufacturing of Viru Valge since 2013. The spirits used for the drink must be completely free of methanol and esters. They must also have at least five times fewer aldehydes than required in EU norms and less than half of the fusel oils permitted in the EU standard.

The products submitted to the competition were evaluated by a panel of 300 highly qualified experts from the alcohol industry on the basis of blind testing. All of the competing drinks were also subjected to thorough chemical purity analysis. Viru Valge was entered in the ‘Western European neutral vodkas’ category. Also earning a gold medal in the category was Svedka Import Vodka. The medals awarded at the 2014 IWSC will be presented to their recipients at a ceremony to be held at the London Guild Hall on 12 November.

“Only the highest quality entries are awarded, and they do not give medals away,” explained Brett Fleming, Competition Chair Judge. “Only products whose quality truly warrants it are awarded medals in this competition. In categories where the products do not score highly enough, no gold medals or trophies are given.”

Viru Valge has now been produced for more than half a century and is one of Liviko’s most widely known trademarks. It is exported to 24 countries, where it competes with premium class vodkas. A third of all Viru Valge is exported. Viru Valge was awarded the title of Best Estonian Alcoholic Beverage in 2010 and received silver medals at the IWSC in 2010 and 2013.

Alcohol manufacturers all over the world take part in the IWSC, which has been held since 1969. This year’s competition attracted entries from more than 90 countries.

Viru Valge is a high-quality vodka that has come to symbolise Estonia and the country’s national identity. Its manufacturing traditions date back to 1962. It has since become the best-known and most trusted vodka in Estonia. Legend has it that Viru Valge owes its success to former Finnish president Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, who was captivated by its taste the very first time he tried it. The name ‘Viru Valge’ was first used around a century ago to mark out Estonian-made vodka during the period of Finnish prohibition.

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