Vodka Around The World

Published October 29, 2008 in Vodka
  • Russia

For Russians, vodka is a national beverage which is not only acts as an important drink, but also plays a representative role of the Russian way of life. Throughout the Russian’s history, they firmly believe that vodka was originated in their homeland. Some source claims that a drink similar to modern vodka first emerged in Russia around 950-1100 CE, but the name “vodka” was not originally called at the beginning, instead, the term “bread wine” was coined.

In Russia, Vodka was not first used as beverage, but for medical purposes. Combined with herbs, Vodka was considered good to heal the wounds and relieve the pain. By the 14thcentury, commercial production of vodka was first established in the country. The Russian historian, V.Pokhlebkin, wrote that the first commercial vodka distillery was first established in the Chudov monastery in the Kremlin, Moscow. Not long after, vodka production has rapidly become an integral part of Russian society.

Until the 20th century, vodka has truly become the Russian popular drink. But due to the government policy of promoting consumption of state-manufactured vodka, most of vodka’s consumers were confined to the middle and high class people because of its high price. Until 1863, the government monopoly was revoked, causing vodka’s price to down, making vodka available even to low-income citizens. Since then, the future of vodka in Russia is so bright. In 1911, vodka was responsible for 89% of all alcohol consumption in Russia. Even today, the popularity of vodka in Russia is not declined, and the Russian’s demand of vodka is increasing every year.

  • Poland

It is a well known fact that Vodka has been produced in Poland since a very long time ago. Some said vodka has been found in Poland since the early middle age, but the fist evidence of Polish vodka is found in the Sandominez court registry which was written in 1405. Like in Russia, vodka was first used as medicines and later was consumed as beverage. By the 16th century, large-scale vodka production began in Poland, initially at Krakow, one of the largest and oldest cities in Poland. Around this time, production methods of vodka were primitive and rudimentary. This distillation process had to be repeated several times and its product was usually low-proof.

Until the end of the 18th century, vodka industry in Poland was actually commenced. The first industrial distillery was operated in 1782 in Lwów, a major city which is now located in western Ukraine. By the second half of the 19th century, the new implementation of new technologies had been introduced, which allowed the production of clear vodka impossible. After World War II, the Polish communist government had taken over the entire vodka distilleries all across the country. But after the victory of the solidarity movement, government’s monopoly was repealed and all distilleries were privatized. Today, Poland is a leading country in the worldwide market of vodka, and each year, a great deal of vodka brands are produced and distributed from this country.

  • Ukraine

Set itself among a group of country called the “vodka belt”, Ukraine is another European nation where vodka is generally found in taverns throughout the country, and is also considered as the top beverage of the nation. In Ukrainian language, the word “Horilka” is used to call for “vodka”. In addition, this word also refers to other drinks such as moonshine, a common slang term for home-distilled alcohol, and whiskey or other strong spirits. In Ukraine, Horilka or vodka is popularly consumed by the Ukrainians as the drink of pleasure, and most of the beveage is gennerally distilled from fermented grain. However, although Russia is always cradited as the birthplace of vodka, but some historions suggest that it was actually the Ukrainian Cossacks, who first produced vodka since the 15th or 16th century.

  • Sweden

Like other nations in Scandinavia region, Sweden is renowned for being the country where vodka is popularly produced and consumed. Some source says that the history of Swedish vodka can date back to the 15th century, as old as the history of Ukrainian vodka, but this claim is not yet confirmed. It is believed that the Swedish vodka was first produced in the local gunpowder industry where high-proof spirit was used as an important component of black powder of muskets. Later, when distilling alcohol beverage was licensed in Sweden, it is the gunpowder makers who grasped the chance to produce vodka for commercial purpose. Since then, vodka industry in Sweden has grown steadily with over 175,000 registered stills were found in Sweden in 1830. Today, a great deal of Swedish vodka is still produced and distributed to countries.

  • America

Around the turn of the 20th century, Vodka was first imported into the United States for commercial purpose. At first, its primary market was immigrants from Eastern Europe, but the commerce was not smoothly operated because of The United States Prohibition of Alcohol which was ratified on January 16, 1919, and affected in 1920. This law had considerably retarded the growth of vodka in America. But after the repeal of the law in 1933, the future of American vodka was brighter. The Heublein Company bought the right of the Russian Smirnoff brand and launched vodka in the U.S. market, and the business proved a huge success. Today, vodka is considered as the dominant white spirit in the United States, and the American demands of the drink are increasing.

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