You’ll have seen his face on every bottle of Absolut Vodka. Affectionately
nicknamed the “King of Spirits”, Lars Ohlsson (L.O.) Smith was an
invincible entrepreneur, changemaker, father, politician– and our pioneer.
Born in 1836, L.O.’s fascinating life truly embodied our mission: Passion for Progression. Multiple books have since been written about the man who invented the very product that would later become Absolut Vodka.
At 10 years of age, L.O. got his first job with a local trader in the small
Swedish town of Karlshamn. Noticing a concerning lack of turnover, he
executed a makeshift PR-campaign around the local boat harbor. By the
time he was 11, sales had multiplied and his salary was higher than the
It’s no surprise that by 23, L.O. was a multi-millionaire.
He went on to found the company that would later become the most
important Swedish food and drink export company in Sweden: The
His legacy extends beyond business savvy; he was one of the most
socially progressive leaders of his time. As a member of parliament, he
championed suffrage 50 years before it became law.
He founded multiple initiatives aimed at improving conditions for workers and opened canteens to provide access to healthy and affordable food.
He championed drinking with moderation, and invented smart ways to
purify spirits to mitigate negative health effects.
We are forever grateful for L.O. Smith’s hard work and generosity, and proud to continue his legacy in everything we do.