Aalborg returns!

Two varieties of the famed Danish aquavit will be available in the US this June

Photo courtesy of Arcus AS   Old posters for Aalborg. The spirit has long been missing from the U.S., but is now available for purchase. If you don’t see it at your local store, ask them to stock it.

Photo courtesy of Arcus AS
Old posters for Aalborg. The spirit has long been missing from the U.S., but is now available for purchase. If you don’t see it at your local store, ask them to stock it.

Molly Jones
The Norwegian American

It’s been four years since Denmark’s Aalborg Akvavit was last sold in the U.S., but Scandinavian Americans certainly haven’t forgotten about the spirit. Ever since Aalborg was acquired by Arcus—the world’s top producer of aquavit—Americans have been requesting its return to the U.S. For two years, Arcus has been working to answer those prayers, and now they have accomplished their mission.

As of this June, wholesalers in the U.S. will be selling two of the 12 variants of Aalborg Akvavit: the original Aalborg Taffel Akvavit and Aalborg Jubilæums Akvavit.

The Aalborg Taffel is the best-selling spirit in Denmark and is known as the Red Aalborg to Danes. The original version that is entering the U.S. market for the first time is sold in a green bottle and is 90 proof—an increase from the adjusted 80-proof version sold in the U.S. in the past. It is flavored with caraway and is best served as is or in a Bloody Mary, according to Christer A. Olsen, the Business Area Manager for Germany, USA, and International Markets.

The Aalborg Jubilæums Akvavit, on the other hand, is flavored with dill, coriander, and American white oak extracts and can be enjoyed in a variety of different settings. Olsen suggests a Jubilæum and Tonic or any other drink that usually uses gin.

If you’re only familiar with Norwegian aquavits, you’ll notice quite a few differences when it comes to the Danish varieties. While Norwegian aquavit is distilled from potatoes and matured in old sherry casks, resulting in a darker color, Danish aquavit is distilled from grain and is clear.

Photo courtesy of Arcus AS

Photo courtesy of Arcus AS

Have you noticed a shortage of Linie Aquavit?
Don’t worry; this is only a temporary shortage due to a change in importers in January—the stock has now been replenished and is readily available again along with Aalborg.

Arcus is excited to be bringing the Danish aquavit back to Americans and wanted to make the best reentry possible. They started by partnering with Sazerac, a privately-held distilling company headquartered in Chicago.

The process wasn’t simple, though. Arcus faced some challenges in getting the Jubilæums Akvavit approved for sale in the country. While both caraway and dill are accepted as main spices of aquavit in Europe, U.S. regulations require the spirit to be flavored from caraway. Fortunately, Arcus was eventually able to meet an agreement and get approval to sell the dill-based aquavit in the U.S.

In addition, new bottles and labels had be created to adhere to the American standards, and of course the bottles then had to be filled before they could end up on the shelves of your local retailer.

The Aalborg Akvavits will be available to order from wholesalers in June, but many retailers may not have ordered it yet and it could therefore take a while to show up on the shelf. If you want to purchase it from your local retailer, Olsen recommends that you request them to stock it.

Although Arcus is focusing on introducing these two aquavits for now, it is their ambition to bring more of their 75 different aquavits to the U.S. market in the future.

If you have questions or want to learn where the Aalborg aquavits are sold in your area, contact info@sazerac.com.

This article originally appeared in the June 3, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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