Kosogorov samogon: Russian moonshine, the legalized legend
Moonshine (in Russian – “samogon”) is known in Russia since the XIV century. Samogon is the distilled spirit, manufactured from variety of stuff: grain, grape, fruits, honey etc. But from the very beginning samogon became the illegal drink – due to the state Wine monopoly, which was established during the Ivan the Terrible government, and then existed until the end of Soviet era.
The state monopoly promoted the different alcohol product – vodka, the mix of rectified spirit (C2H5OH) with water. Very “chemical”, artificial, cheap in production, vodka was an ideal fiscal instrument, helping to fill the state treasury with money. The moonshine was a problem for vodka – and moonshine became outlawed. And samogon production was considered as a serious crime.
But too many people knew that in reality samogon, Russian brother of tequila, rum, grappa and other distilled spirits, is a perfect drink, much better than “chemical” vodka. And in the recent time, after the end of Wine monopoly (today spirit production in Russia is mainly the private industry), the legal samogon appeared. The production of “Kosogorov samogon”, first legal Russian moonshine, started in 2003.
– At the present time we sell “Kosogorov samogon” all over Russia,– says Nikolay Poluektov, the “inventor” of legal moonshine, co-owner of the brand. – In 2007 the turnover of “Kosogorov samogon” exceeded $5 million, and this result is extremely positive for a small private company, for the very new product with a comparatively high price.
Retail price for “Kosogorov samogon” in Russia is $30-40 per litre, while vodka costs about $10 per litre. But people buy legal samogon, says Mr.Poluektov, and it indicates, in his opinion, the consistency of his initial idea – that samogon can be not only a good drink, but also, after legalization, a good product and a good brand.
– The word “brand” is very important, – says Mr.Poluektov. – I think “Kosogorov samogon” has a very big potential as a world-known trademark. The point is that samogon is the national Russian drink, as vodka, but older and better than vodka. And you have a lot of vodkas on the world market, there is no need in any new vodka brand. But still there is no legal moonshine, exported from Russia. “Kosogorov samogon” is the first and the only legal samogon – and this is the key for success. Of course, it’s quite a challenge for our company to start distributing “Kosogorov samogon” world-wide by our own. But I am sure we can do it in coopereation with transnational corporation like Diageo etc. And I am sure we will do it, quite soon.
Kosogorov samogon: where to buy
Eliseevskiy Gastronom -- one of the oldest Russian stores (est. 1901), in the center of Moscow, on Tversakya st., 14 (near Pushkinskaya subway station).
Aromatny Mir wine stores -- the biggest alcohol retailer in Russia, you can find a shop near your location on AM web-site.
Kosogorov samogon: references
http://www.samogon.ru – the official web-site (in Russian).
Russia's Artisanal Moonshine Boom – the story about Russian moonshine and “Kosogorov samogon” in TIME magazine, Feb. 2009.
http://www.samogon.ru/c2.htm – the main facts about “Kosogorov samogon” in brief (in Russian).
http://www.samogon.ru/c3.htm – the full story of the brand (in Russian).
http://www.samogon.ru/c4.htm – all points of sales of “Kosogorov samogon” (in Russian).
http://www.samogon.ru/c5.htm – the list of “Kosogorov samogon” wholesalers (in Russian).