The story of Absolut goes back to 1879. That was the year when the swedish “king of Vodka” Lars Olsson Smith started making his “Absolut Rent Brännvin”. The vodka was produced using a revolutionary new destillation method, called “rectification” and that method is still used today. In the beginning, the vodka was produced in LO Smith’s distillery on the island Reimersholmen, just outside the city limits of Stockholm.
But today every drop of Absolut Vodka consumed in the world comes from the distilleries near Åhus in southern Sweden. Wheat is taken from nearby fields and the water from their own well. In 1993, this small village of 10,000 inhabitants not only produced, but packed and shipped all the 40 million litres of Absolut Vodka consumed all over the world.
Absolut Art began in 1985, when Andy Warhol was commisioned to do a painting of the Absolut Vodka bottle. When the painting appeared as an ad it was an incredible success and got immediate worldwide media attention. Absolut Vodka went from popular vodka to pop art and became an icon. Absolut Art had begun. Warhol later recommended one of his young protégés, Keith Haring, who had risen to fame with his anonymous paintings in the New York subway. Absolut commissioned its second painting. Works then followed from Kenny Scharf, Stephen Sprouse, Edward Ruscha, Arman, Britto and other leading American artists. To date, over 350 artists have been commissoned, with literally hundreds on the waiting list.