Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A Finnish brewery has fired a broadside at Russian leader Vladimir Putin by launching a new beer named after NATO.
Named OTAN, the French variation for NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the beer is produced by Olaf Brewing in the town of Savonlinna in the Finnish region of South Savo.
The company made the decision over the weekend when the Finnish government announced their intention to join NATO, a move that will undoubtedly anger their counterparts in neighbouring Russia.
To further irritate President Putin, an outspoken critic of NATO’s expansion into nations on Russia’s borders, Olaf Brewing has launched the OTAN-branded beer, complete with a cartoon character in armour bearing NATO’s compass symbol.
Olaf Brewing CEO Petteri Vanttinen said: “In the past, we haven’t taken much of a stand in political affairs. Now, however, the majority of Finns are behind the NATO decision. That’s why we dared to take such a step, and it didn’t really require a lot of daring, we just decided to do it.
“We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think it was good for Finland and Finland’s security.”
Savonlinna was heavily bombed by the Russians during World War II and Vanttinen said his grandmother can still remember the missiles exploding in the town centre, adding: “We hope that after the NATO decision, such events will never have to be seen in Savonlinna or Finland again.”
Vanttinen said “the phone has been ringing all morning and people have been asking ‘when can you deliver?” since announcing the new beer brand.
He added: “It’s pretty wild!”
Head of Marketing Finland Riikka-Maria Lemminki said: “The majority of people are pro-NATO so I think marketers will stick to it.”
It is unclear if the brewery intends to send a complimentary crate of OTAN to the Kremlin.