Industrial beverage production began in Rovaniemi in 1906. A two-storey stone building was constructed on the bank of the Kemijoki River in 1914. In the 1930s, ice cream was produced as well. Next to the building there were a cooperative dairy and the Inari cinema. The hot water used to clean the cinema was obtained from the brewery. In return, the brewery master and his wife got to go to the cinema for free! There was also a public sauna for men and women at the beer factory. Bathing and back washing services — subject to charge — were available. The lumberjacks returning from the logging sites and floating areas first bought new clothes and then took a sauna here. The German soldiers staying in Rovaniemi bought refreshments and used the sauna almost every day. They were a familiar sight singing and marching down Koskikatu. In the autumn of 1944, the machines of the brewery were evacuated to Tornio.
The walls of the factory survived the destruction of Rovaniemi. After the war, the public sauna was very important because not everybody had their own sauna. The brewery operated until the 1970s. The beer manufacturing stopped in 1972, and the last soft drink bottle was filled in 1976. The building was demolished in 1978 due to the extension of Hotel Pohjanhovi.
Pauli Ernesti (P.E.) Blomstedt designed Hotel Pohjanhovi, which was completed in 1936. The opening of the hotel was an event in both the history of travel and modern architecture, and it was considered to be a high-class hotel on a continental scale and a flagship of heroic functionalism. Pohjanhovi was also the first hotel advertised as a winter holiday destination. There were Europe’s northernmost electrified kitchen, Lapland’s only lift, sun terraces, multipurpose spaces, fireplaces, and even Oy Alkoholiliike Ab (the state-owned liquor store). Rovaniemi was the only market town in Finland where an off-licence was opened on the 5th of April 1932 at 10:00, after the end of the Prohibition Act.
Autti brewery on the bank of the Kemijoki River in 1914