Piotr Smirnov first founded his vodka distillery in Moscow in the 1860s, under the trading name of PA Smirnoff. He died in 1910 and was succeeded by Vladimir Smirnov. The company flourished and produced more than 4 million cases of vodka per year.

During the October Revolution, the distillery was confiscated, and the family had to flee. Vladimir Smirnov re-established the factory in 1920 in Istanbul. Four years later he moved to Lwów (formerly Poland, now Lviv, Ukraine) and started to sell the vodka under the contemporary French spelling of the name, “Smirnoff”. The new product was a success and by the end of 1930 it was exported to most European countries. An additional distillery was founded in Paris in 1925.

In the 1930s, Vladimir met Rudolph Kunett, a Russian who had emigrated to America in 1920. The Kunett family had been a supplier of spirits to Smirnoff in Moscow before the Revolution. In 1933 Vladimir sold Kunett the right to begin producing Smirnoff vodka in North America. However, the business in America was not as successful as Kunett had hoped. In 1938 Kunett couldn’t afford to pay for the necessary sales licences, and contacted John Martin, president of Heublein, who agreed to buy the rights to Smirnoff.

Thanks to the introduction of vodka cocktails and successful advertisement campaigns, Smirnoff increased in popularity both in the US and internationally.

Smirnoff starts with the best grain spirit and involves an unparalleled 24-hour distillation process.

First, the finest quality yeast and grain is selected, prepared and fermented. This is an extremely delicate and complicated process where the yeast cell converts the sugar in the mash to ethanol. Using a triple distillation process and filtering through hardwood charcoal to absorb impurities, the resulting strong, intensely pure alcohol is then blended with de-mineralised water to reduce the vodka to bottling strength. Samples are scrupulously analysed for quality and consistency before passing through a final tenth filter. The result is known and enjoyed by consumers around the world as Smirnoff.

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