You’ve probably never looked too closely at the seal on the front of the bottle, but Lars Olson Smith’s bearded face is front and center. By the age of 26, he was distributing three-fourths of all vodka sold in Sweden, and in 1879 he transformed vodka by distilling it hundreds of times to remove all impurities, a process now known as “continuous distillation.” His company Absolut Rent Bränvin (translated as “Absolutely Pure Vodka”), was the inspiration behind what is now known as Absolut Vodka.
Lars Olsson Smith, also L.O. Smith, was a Swedish spirits manufacturer and politician. He was called “The King of Spirits” (Brännvinskungen) because of his domination of spirits production in Stockholm during the end of the 19th century. He started the production of Absolut Rent Brännvin which was later renamed Absolut Vodka.