Distilling Moonshine, Finland’s Prohibition Era and Koskenkorva Vodka

Episode 9 

Join me as I visit the Koskenkorva Museo and learn about the history of distilling in Koskenkorva, as well as the distinctive local clocks, Könnikello, and we take another, brief tour around the saunas at Koskenkorva Trahteeri, until we end up at the ‘vodka tap’! Intrigued?

Guests: Jaakko & Martti Koskenkorva

Download an MP3 file of Distilling Moonshine, Finland’s Prohibition Era and Koskenkorva Vodka

Show Notes

Koskenkorva, Koskenkorva, Koskenkorva, Koskenkorva!

In episode 6, I spoke to Jaakko & Martti about the Finnish institution that is the sauna, you can listen to that show here. During that same visit, they walked me around other parts of the Koskenkorvan Trahteeri – a venue for parties, weddings, business meetings and functions, as well as a museum to Koskenkorva.

In this show you will hear us discuss how the word Koskenkorva evolved from the name of a farm, to become the brand of the largest selling spirit in Finland, and to add to the confusion, is also Jaakko & Martti’s surname!

We walked around their small museum and they explained the history of distilling in Finland, from the origins where everyone could do it at home, legally, through the prohibition era 1866-1932 (longer that the USA!) when nobody could do it legally, up to the modern day where it’s become  large industry.

You can hear us talking about the distilling process and that, nowadays, Koskenkorva vodka is distilled 250 times before it’s bottled – Martti explains how it won awards for it’s purity. We also discussed the evolution of the label of the bottle, which has also turned full-circle and, once again, features the classic ‘barley field’ design.

Also in the museum is a display of Kööni clocks, which originated in the nearby town of Ilmäjoki. Martti and Jaakko explained that the company was active from 1780 1860, and how the distinctive shape of the Könni Grandfather clock has led to Könnikello become the generic name for this type of clock.

To end this episode, you’ll hear a very brief introduction to the saunas at Koskenkorvan Trahteeri, if you want more detail on that subject, then you need to travel back in time to episode 6.

Finnish words in this Episode

  • Trahteeri – old Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnian) word for a place that serves food
  • Keervarkki – a tool for making cogs for the clock movement
  • Viina – Spirits, liquor
  • Jaloviina – cut-Cognac, a mix of Cognac and Vodka
  • Kello – Clock, also alarm (depends on the context)
  • Kiuas – Sauna stove/heater
  • Savu sauna – Smoke sauna
  • Aitokiuas sauna – Authentic heat sauna



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