Production of Armenian Brandy for Armenians is not only a business but, first of all, a tradition they keep improving year by year. According to Bible, Armenian Highland is considered to be the homeland of grape and wine. There were ideal conditions for improving the art of winemaking. According to tales the first of winemaker was Noah. He was the one who came with his Ark to Ararat valley and put the first grapevine.
The grape growing in Ararat valley is the best in Caucasus. The main symbol is Ararat, where they created the legendary cognac.
Archaeological excavations near the Ararat Mountain, where the Urartian Arin-Berd, Karmir Blur, Teyshebani, Elar- Darani cities were located, prove high-quality winemaking among Armenians from ancient times.
After, ancient Greek historians Herodotus Halicarnassus, Xenophon and Strabane proved: over 2500 years ago they used to export high-quality wines from Armenia to other countries.
Armenians started production of brandy in 1887. Merchant Nerses Tairov founded the first wine and gin factory at the place of the Hin Erivan castle. Starting the brandy production was Tairov’s cousin’s idea though. Vasili Tairov helped him to start the business. This was probably the first cognac factory in Russian Empire.
Armenian Cognac in International market
After 12 years, in 1899, Nerses Tairov got problems with delivering. Thus, he had to sell the factory to a Russian businessman Nikolay Shustov. The new company, named “Shustov and sons”, developed the factory. They brought new gears for double distillation of alcohol. As a result, Shustov’s company became one of the best companies providing Russian market.
Armenian brandy’s first success was in Bordeaux, France, in 1907. Winemakers Mkrtich Musinyants and Kirill Silchenko created “Fin Champan Select” first Armenian sorted cognac. Taking part in the prestigious exhibition, they won a bronze medal.
In 1902, Nikolay Shustov sent anonymous examples of Armenian brandy to Parisian festival. Professional Jury awarded the anonymous winemaker with the Grand Prix. After they found out the winner is not French, they did an exception giving him a permission to name his brandy as “Cognac”. Thus, Shustov became the first and the only foreign winemaker in the whole history of the wine producing, being given this exception.
In 1912, during a degustation, Russian Emperor Nikolay II tried Shustov’s cognac and liked its high and unique quality. Soon “Shustov and sons” company became a provider of Russian Empire Court. As a result, Armenian brandy became more popular.
Cognac’s international reputation
Armenian brandy’s high reputation is formed with many awards in international competitions. As a symbol of their company, they choose a bell. This is where their popular phrase comes from: “We ring all the bells presenting the Armenian cognac to the whole world”.
Another type of cognac,”Anniversary” became famous in the Soviet Union, as another high- quality cognac “Dvin”. Talanted technologist, winemaker Margar Sedrakyan made it. So they started producing Armenian cognac. This type of brandy brought many awards and a high reputationto creators. Experts called Margar Sedrakyan “A Master among all Masters” because of his high professional skills.
French newspapers wrote about him as an unknown talent. While in Armenia, Margar Sedrakyan selected places to plant good sorts of grape. Therefore cognac factory improved a lot.
But, unfortunately, after the revolution Shustov’s company collapsed. In August 1920 it was nationalized. It came back only with Bolsheviks as a factory of wine and cognac named “Ararat Trest”.
For the 1945’s summit in Yalta the factory created “Dvin”, another special type of cognac. Winston Churchill, Great Britain’s premier, liked “Dvin”. After the summit he asked Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union, to send it to him. It is said, he had almost 400 bottles of “Dvin” each year. Being older he gave his best advice for long- living: ”Never be late for the dinner, smoke Havayan cigars and drink Armenian cognac”.
“Yerevan Brandy Factory”
In the end of 40’s the factory’s place wasn’t big enough. As a result, they decided to move it to the other place which we call “Yerevan Brandy Factory”. This was the only factory producing Armenian brandy.
From 1998 “Yerevan Brandy Factory” is a part of «Pernod Ricard» group. After some time, in 2002, the old factory started producing and selling cognac named “Yerevan Ararat Cognac-Wine-Vodka Factory” (which is famous as “Noy”).
“Ararat”. The legend
Yerevan Brandy Factory’s products are known as legends that contain Armenian soul, historical heritage. And today it’s more popular not only in Armenia but also in the whole world.
For cognac “Ararat” they usually use a grape only from Ararat valley. The secret of Armenian cognac is it’s ability to effect on all 5 human sensories. Another secret is Ararat valley’s location, 700 meters higher sea surface. So Armenia has almost 300 sunny days during the year. As a result of this kind of climatic conditions Armenia has one of the best taste in wine and brandy maikng.
Famous Russian writer Maksim Gorki once said: “It’s easier to climb Mount Ararat than to get out from the Ararat’s cellar”.