Kouvolan Lakritsi Oy
This is what liquorice factories should really be like
Kouvola liquorice has been produced in an uncompromising manner since 1945. The flavour is born out of the traditional production method, the right people, a polished recipe, armfuls of love and a supply chain that guarantees the freshness of every liquorice bite.
Kouvola liquorice is a manual craft. Even today, we value the traditions of liquorice production and we prepare our delicacies using traditional methods – this means cooking in an open pot by real people. It is a matter of heart to our liquorice masters that the production processes of today’s unique production technology are passed from one generation to another.
We have produced liquorice in the same manner since 1945 but the recipe was amended slightly in 1960. This was done by the English gentleman consultant and liquorice specialist, H. Knoch. The flavour was an instant hit among tasters and our liquorice has been made with the recipe amended by Mr. Knoch since then.
The freshness of our liquorice is a matter of pride to us. This is why we make sure that our delivery times are as short as possible. Liquorice departs our factory almost immediately after it’s made and that makes for a soft flavour!
One of the most important ingredients of the tastiest liquorice in the universe is the unique liquorice extract, made exclusively for us, that is also well suited for cooking both for creative gastronomists and ordinary household cooks alike.
Oh yes, we do make marmalade as well, with the same love for sweets as we make liquorice.
History in a few liquorice bites
The foundation of Kouvolan Lakritsi was cast in Vyborg already in 1906. The company descends from the Vyborg-based Makeis- ja Mehu Oy that found new headquarters in Uusikaupunki after the war, seeing that Vyborg was lost in the war.
At Christmas 1945, among shortage and rationing, the state authorities nobly granted Makeis- ja Mehu Oy a small batch of ingredients for making such luxury as liquorice – and the rest is history.
As the company’s production expanded in 1960, all confectionery operations were moved to Kouvola. Already then, liquorice reaped fame as an excellent product, after all, it was one of Makeis- ja Mehu Oy’s flagship products.
As the company moved, it was decided to develop the liquorice production. A liquorice consultant by the name of H. Knoch was invited all the way from England to perform the precious task. He fine-tuned the recipe to the one we know today. Even back then, there were many players in the liquorice market but after Mr. Knoch’s work, Makeis- ja Mehu Oy’s liquorice stood clearly out from competitors’ products.
The new flavour made sales soar and the company’s management figured that the fine brand should have a fine name – ENGLISH TASTE. Naturally the name was inspired by England, the country of origin of confectionary liquorice, and it just happened that Mr. Knoch was from there too.
However, English was not an easy language for Finns at that time, which is why afecionados of our liquorice started to call the product based on where it was made. The company’s management took the hint and the popular product became officially known as Kouvola liquorice.
Makeis- ja Mehu Oy ceased operations in 1990. At the same time, the production of Kouvola liquorice was transferred to the associate company and largest shareholder, Papulan Vesitehdas Oy, that had started operations as a lemonade and mineral water factory in the Papula area of Vyborg on May 1, 1906.
Papulas journey from Vyborg to Kouvola
As Makeis- ja Mehu Oy’s companion in fate, Papula had also had to leave Vyborg due to the war in 1944. Via a stint in Lappeenranta, Papula ended up establishing its own factory in the Tornionmäki area of Kouvola in 1947. Of course, the original factory has been expanded and renovated several times but Kouvola liquorice has been continuously produced at this location since 1960.
In the 1960s, Papula also had its fingers in the café and bakery businesses. Papulan Vesitehdas Oy’s and Papula Bakery’s industrial production ended in 1971. By then, the company’s history comprised 65 years of bottling soft drinks. At that time, the beverage industry experienced centralisation, which trampled on small businesses. At the same time, the bakery business found itself in the middle of a profitability crisis, mainly due to stubborn rationing policies imposed by the state authorities. As such, the fairly wealthy company ceased its own production and continued solely as a wealth management company until it started operations as a liquorice producer.
Papula played its biggest role as the producer of Kouvola liquorice in 1990-1997. Production decreased slightly at times but despite everything, its market share kept growing. With Papula at the reins, success in the international markets was sought and exports grew by more than tenfold during that time.
Timo Nisula bought the liquorice factory with Mikko Vilenius in the spring of 2008. In 2014, Nisula became the sole owner. At the same time, exports were increased and now Kouvola liquorice can be enjoyed for example in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Canada.
We improve the world one liquorice piece at a time
We have made a Sitoumus2050 Social Commitment. This means that in the spirit of sustainability, we are committed to minimizing waste and employing young people in high season.
Read more at Commitment2050 >!
And here we can also mention that our liqourice is completely vegan.