ARARAT brandy timeline

The biography of the first Armenian ARARAT brandy is a history of generosity, passion and craftsmanship

The culture of winemaking in Armenia goes back centuries, and the Armenian brandy that is famous around the world today appeared at the end of the 19th century.

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Armenian brandy production was started in 1887 in Yerevan by the merchant and philanthropist Nerses Tairyan, who was the first to introduce classic French alcohol production technology in his factory. He was inspired by his cousin, Vasily Tairov, who was an experienced winemaker and scientist. Nobody else recognised as well as he did nature's gift – the unique conditions of Ararat Valley and the high-quality of the local grapes.

With financial support from friends and relatives, production was fitted with Charante Type distillers and the premises were equipped for ageing spirits. Their entrepreneurial instinct did not fail the brothers, their undertaking became a technological breakthrough and opened new prospects for the brandy business in Armenia.

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In just a quarter of a century, Armenian brandy gained worldwide recognition and its production reached a truly imperial scale.

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In 1899, the successful factory was sold to the Russian company Shustov and Sons. The new owners were active industrialists and renovated the factory using the latest technology and hired the best experts. One of them, Mkrtych Musinyants, a leading expert and the author of original recipes, became the permanent manager of the factory.

In 1902, he created the first vintage brandy Fine Champagne Select (Otborny) which won the hearts of an exacting jury and brought Shustov the Grand-Prix at an exhibition in France, as well as the title of Supplier to the Court of His Imperial Majesty. The personal contribution of these talented individuals in production development resulted in Armenian brandy winning international popularity at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Even revolutionary upheavals were unable to shake the significance of brandy production and only managed to emphasise its status as a national treasure.

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But even so, it is not the many awards and international fame rapidly won by the Armenian brandy that were the main achievement of Mkrtych Musinyants, but the valuable spirits which he created and which, to this day, are carefully stored in the Yerevan Brandy Company. When the revolution reached Armenia, it was accompanied by pogroms and looting, so it took Musinyants' bravery and decisiveness to protect the national heritage lying in the brandy ageing oak casks.

The loss of the alcohol would have destroyed years of work of many people and the future of production itself. However, the company survived and after the revolution it was nationalised as the most valuable Armenian company. In 1923, the company joined the ARARAT trust, together with other alcohol production companies.

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The Soviet era gave the world a whole range of legendary ARARAT brandies, while the Yerevan Brandy Company was given a monumental building on the right bank of the Hrazdan river.

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The most outstanding achievements of Armenian brandy during Soviet times are inextricably linked to the name Markar Sedrakyan. He was a leading expert, a tireless creator and genius master. He dedicated his whole life and career to Armenia, which he loved with all his heart. Each of his famous brandies, Akhtamar, Nairi and Dvin, are a tribute to the centuries-old culture and history of his native country.

His creations won numerous gold and silver medals at national and international competitions, while Sedrakyan was awarded the title Master of all Masters and the Knight of Tasting medal. However, the master's most significant achievement was the development of brandy production and its move to the new Yerevan Brandy Company building in 1953.

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In 1998, the Yerevan Brandy Company became part of Pernod Ricard Group, the world's leader in the Premium spirits industry. Cherishing the traditions of Armenian brandy-making Pernod Ricard elevated them to a whole new level and gave ARARAT brandies new opportunities to develop on the international market.

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