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Published:  23 July, 2008

The ownership of Finlandia Vodka, which recently deposed Smirnoff as James Bond's vodka of choice, was stirred - if not quite shaken - last week when Brown-Forman increased its ownership of the brand to 80%. Following the sale of the majority interest in Finlandia by the Altia corporation, whose 55% share drops to 20%, the US-based Brown-Forman Corporation will now have full marketing responsibilities for the third-largest imported premium vodka in the world (behind Absolut and Stolichnaya). A spokesperson for the new owner said that it will make a significant increase in marketing investment in the US and other important vodka markets, more than doubling the brand commitment'. Veikko Kasurinen, Altia's president, said: Naturally, the decision to give up the majority interest has been a difficult one, but it is essential for the future of the brand. Altia simply isn't the right company to act alone with one product in the global markets.' William M. Street, president of Brown-Forman, said: We believe this refinement in the relationship and additional advertising and promotional spending are the logical next steps in keeping Finlandia competitive.'