Brewery Toasts NATO Bid

New lager from town near Finland's border with Russia offers 'a taste of security'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2022 1:00 PM CDT
Brewery Toasts NATO Bid
OTAN cans are displayed this week in Savonlinna, eastern Finland.   (Soila Puurtinen/Lehtikuva via AP)

A small brewery in Finland, just 30 or so miles from the Russian border, has made its feelings about the nation joining NATO clear. Just before Finland submitted its application to the security alliance, Olaf Brewing released a new lager. Its name, OTAN, plays on the Finnish "I'll have a beer"—"Otan olutta"—as well as the French acronym for the 30-nation organization, the Washington Post reports. The townspeople are used to living where Russia meets the West, but Olaf chief executive Petteri Vänttinen said that after the invasion of Ukraine, "you look to Russia being so close with new eyes."

The lager—which he told the AP offers "a taste of security, with a hint of freedom"—is a hit. Email orders are pouring in, some from other nations, and customers "are driving long distances within Finland to buy it," Vänttinen said. There's no mistaking its message from a town that hasn't forgotten Russia's invasion of Finland in 1939. "My 91-year-old grandmother still remembers Savonlinna being bombed by Russians," Vänttinen said. The can shows a cartoon medieval knight, full mug of beer in hand. "So we think joining NATO is a good decision and after good decisions it is normal to have a beer, right?" he said. (More Finland stories.)

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