"Anyone could do one or two unique products. We're making close to four million."
Innovation and creativity have always been close to our hearts, and from the very beginning we have had the privilege to work with top artists around the world to fuel this passion.
For Absolut Unique, we wanted to see if we could take creativity all the way to the bottling line, making our machines and our staff - as well Absolut as a company - the creator.
The fact that many (us included) doubted that this would be at all possible, made us even more keen to find out.
And so it began
We soon realized that everyone had to step away from their usual process, without compromising on either safety, timings or quality. We re-engineered the entire production line to create that carefully orchestrated randomness, trying to meet the high standards of visual appeal that is Absolut. Splash guns and colour-generating machines were set up and complex coating, pattern and placement algorithms were programmed in to ensure that no two bottles would be alike. Thirty-five different colours were used, and fifty-one pattern types were applied to the bottles.
Ignorance is bliss but in Åhus, everyone knows their s*
During one of many workshops, our fork truck drivers came up with the brilliant solution of repositioning each pallet in the warehouse to make sure that the bottles’ designs and their unique numbers were randomly scattered all over the world (another great perk of having our Once Source concept, but a nightmare for Absolut’s collectors - sorry!). Had we known then what we learned along the way, we would probably have done it anyways. But it wouldn’t have been a given.
Moment of truth
As we finally pushed the button, our jaws dropped as we witnessed the conveyor belt spitting out beautiful pieces of street art at fast rate, all different from the other. Adding the final touch, a mat paper label featuring each bottle’s unique number, we knew that we’d accomplished something few brands in the world could.
How unique are they - really?
Just out of curiosity, we asked Quality Management Professor Mattias Elg from Linköping University in Sweden to figure out how many bottles we had to create before two identical ones would appear. When he told us 94 quintillion bottles – that's 94 times 10 to the 18th power, or more than 13 billion bottles for each person on earth – we felt that we were on the safe side to call this Absolut Unique.