Paulig is a family-owned business that was established in 1876 in Helsinki. Gustav Paulig, the founder of the company, was a German immigrant who moved to Finland to begin a business of his own. It did not take long for Gustav's business to grow from an importing company to an exporting company, and for Gustav to be recognized as a distinguished and visionary businessman. Today the Paulig Group Coffee Division is the market leader in Finland and the Baltic countries, the second largest supplier of roasted coffee in Russia, and an overall internationally renowned brand.
At the time Gustav began establishing his business, the food industry was just starting to develop and most foods were sold only in the form of raw, unprocessed ingredients. Gustav's company began importing "colonial" goods like salt, coffee, spices, flour, and cognac to trade in the local food market. Gustav was a visionary, and he recognized even back then the importance of branding his company. He designed the company's first logo during the 1880s, and marked his coffee packages with the P-insignia to communicate the assurance of a premium beverage.
At the time Gustav was building up his company, most of the coffee supplied by the Paulig company were green coffee beans, and customers roasted their coffee at home. This changed when the development of industrial coffee roasting processes became available in the late 19th century. By 1904 Gustav expanded the business from wholesale-only to also supplying directly to the consumer. A Paulig coffee roastery was established the same year in the Katajanokka district of Helsinki, becoming the first in the Nordic countries. Over time, roasted coffee would become increasingly available and with many thanks to the foundation set by the Paulig company. Gustav would not live to see this transition in popularity for his roasted coffee. Gustav passed away in 1907, and ownership and management of his company was passed onto his wife, Bertha Paulig.
In 1924, an inquiry from a local shopkeeper in Mariehamn led the Paulig company to become the first to market coffee in consumer packages. The first Paulig coffee packages came in 250g and 500g packs that were both wrapped in paper and sealed by hand. In 1925, the Paulig roasting plant received its first packaging machinery which enabled the company to also begin selling their coffee directly to consumers in 100g packages. By 1926, the sales of roasted coffee finally exceeded those of green coffee beans on the Finnish coffee market. The influence of the role of the son of Gustav and Bertha, Eduard Paulig, must also be acknowledged in the rise of the company's popularity. Serving as the company's managing director from 1919 to 1947, Eduard helped Paulig grow into a leader in the food industry. Later, Eduard's son would also help further develop the Paulig brand.
In 1929, Paulig launched the Juhla and Presidentti coffee blends in honor of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the coffee roastery. These coffee blends were the precursor for the company's current and top brands of today: Juhla Mokka and Presidentti. Prior to this time of the release of these historically popular, anniversary blends, Paulig did offer a variety of coffee blends, but they were identified by product numbers only. Within just a couple years, Paulig ready-ground coffees were appearing on the top shelves of stores throughout the country. In the same year of 1931, Paulig also began printing the date of roasting on the coffee packaging to indicate the freshness of the product. This was a notable innovation for the time, because this was something unseen anywhere in Europe before.
The "Paula Girl" became a visible spirit of the Paulig company in 1950. The Paula Girl, dressed in the Finnish national costume of the Sääksmäki district and often depicted pouring coffee from a copper pot, became a familiar and popular sight among consumers. Eduard's son, Henrik, returned from a trip abroad in 1970 with an idea to initiate professional services with the consumer in mind. In 1971 the Paula service was opened. The Paula service provided advice and tips to consumers through the mail and phone calls, and also produced recipe booklets and held evening meetings where they provided guidance and best practices on their products to customers. A traveling representative for the company, dressed as the Paula Girl, would also visit shops and cafés where she provided these customer-minded services in person.
The continued growth of the company resulted in the need for more space than the site in Katajanokka provided. The roasting plant and packaging plant moved into modern, new facilities in Vuosaari in 1968. By 1980, the company was continuing to expand. A company in the United Kingdom, Appleton Machin & Smiles Ltd., was acquired by Paulig and renamed Paulig U.K. Limited. In the same year, the company also opened the Coffee Institute to foster coffee culture, enabling professionals from many backgrounds to gain expertise about the popular beverage. Paulig also saw a renovation to the company's new plant in Vuosaari in 1980, and new roasting and packaging technologies came into service.
By the 1990s, Paulig was prepared and equipped for more expansion. The '90s became a decade for internationalization for the brand. The expansion to Russian cities, or re-expansion, was enabled by the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Paulig opened a new roastery in Tallinn in 1983, and became one of the first to enter into cooperative agreements with former trading partners. Paulig began to establish trade centers and sales offices throughout Russia, including in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and Estonia--a city in which the company had been absent for more than 50 years. As the decade came to a close, the coffee market saw further increases in popularity due to the rise of trendy coffee shops. Paulig marked the beginning of the new millennium by introducing the Finns to a coffee industry professional that was entirely new to the country: the barista.
As the new millennium commenced, Paulig continued to grow and expand. They opened a new roastery site in Helsinki's new seaport which they purchased in 2006. After years of contemplating and researching significant investments for the company, final decisions were made to move forward with investments and expansions in 2008. The new roastery in Helsinki was inaugurated in 2010. The inauguration was swiftly followed by the opening of another new coffee roastery in the Tver region of Russia in 2011. Already a highly popular coffee in Russia, the establishment of the new plant plays an important role in enhancing the company's competitiveness and customer service experience in the country.
In 2012 the company updated its logo and streamlined its core message to "Exploring Great Taste". This aligns well with the company's three values; Stay Curious, Strive for Excellence, Grow Together. The new core message also ties back to the views of its founder, Gustav. When he began his business, Gustav's vision for Paulig Ltd. was to be an attractive company that inspires consumers to taste the world. Today, the still-family-owned company is underpinned by the fact that everything they do relates to their passions for rich coffee, good food, and irresistable flavors. Paulig, an internationally renowned company with fans worldwide, is Finnish coffee at its finest.