|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2007)|
AB Stumbras is the oldest and largest producer of strong alcoholic drinks in Kaunas, Lithuania. Company began its operations in 1906. "Stumbras" is also the largest exporter of strong alcoholic beverages and one of the biggest taxpayers in Lithuania. Company's most famous brands include "Lithuanian vodka" (vodka), "999" (bitter), "Gloria" (brandy), "Stumbro Starka" (bitter), "Krupnikas" (liqueur), "Poema" (liqueur) and others. The company name translates as Wisent.
- 1 History
- 2 Brands
- 3 Awards
- 4 "Stumbras" museum
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Origins of "Stumbras" is related to an 1894 law on monopolizing alcohol production by state-owned enterprises in the Russian Empire. The law was expected to increase budget revenues and to improve the quality of produced vodka. The government of Kaunas acquired suitable plot of land in 1903 for a high price of 52,200 Russian rubles. The buildings were finished and production started at the end of 1906. The official name of the company was "Kazionyj Nr.1 vinyj očistnyj sklad" (State wine warehouse No. 1). City's name was later included in the title. The site included an electric power station, charcoal burner (for filtration purposes), canalization, evaporation heating, three-dimensional water supply system, six artesian wells, even a railway connection was made available.
The company was enlarged and modernized several times until 1914. During World War I Germans occupied Lithuania and forbade production of strong alcohol. The main building was converted into public bathhouse. After the war, cisterns were used by the Lithuanian state to keep its spirits reserves and by the electric power station to keep oil and kerosene. The warehouse of the factory belonged to the war commissariat.
Between the wars
In 1918, when Lithuania regained its independence, ideas to rebuild the factory were gradually gaining attention. Around 1921–1922 the company received large investments to rebuild and modernize the factory. The production of strong alcoholic drinks was monopolized at the time, which resulted in large portion of income to the state budget.
When Lithuania was occupied by Soviets, all factories and establishments were nationalized. During the Soviet times, the factory continued to operate. In 1948 soviets decided to merge Stumbras factory with su M. Velykis liquor factory thus making this new establishment a biggest alcohol producer ir Lithuanian SSR. In 1975 three local spirit breweries of Atanavas, Balbieriškis ir Šilutė were merged into the company and it became known as "Stumbras".
Independent Lithuania and privatization
"Stumbras" was a state-owned company until 2003. UAB "Mineraliniai vandenys", a subsidiary of holding company MG Baltic, as of December 2008 owned 94.9% of company's shares. After the privatization, the company underwent management and organizational reforms, including spun off of the bioethanol plant in Šilutė. In 2006 and 2007 company introduced several new vodka and brandy products to the market. Increasing sales of these new products and growing export abroad resulted in significant growth in sales volume (47.3% in 2007) and net profits (51.4% in 2007). However, 2008 saw decreases in sales and profits with share price dropping from near 14 litas at the end of 2007 to around 4 litas in beginning of 2009.
In spring of 2010 "Stumbras" together with the Lithuanian institute of history started a project to commemorate 600th anniversary of Battle of Grunwald. The aim of the project is to create biggest mock up model of the battle, which will be 20 sq. meters.
Stumbras produces a variety of drinks, including vodka, brandy, bitters and liqueurs.
"Lithuanian vodka" family is not only the most popular vodka in Lithuania, but is well known in many foreign countries as well. It is exceptionally pure and soft vodka, filtered as much as 4 times. This vodka family is combined from: Lithuanian vodka Original", "Lithuanian vodka Gold" and "Lithuanian vodka flavoured", which you can find in raspberry, cherry, quince, and cranberries tastes. "Lithuanian vodka" family was awarded in various international competitions and exhibitions, including "San Francisco World Spirits Competition", "Beverage Tasting Institute" and "Drinks International Vodka Challenge" and many more.
"Stumbras vodka" family is said to be a proud carrier of company's name and traditions. Cutting-edge technologies are combined with ancient traditions. Thus thoroughness, attention to detail and a lot of hand work in the process is maintained. "Stumbras Centenary", "Stumbras Rye Bread", "Stumbras Bison Grass" and three "Stumbras Classic" flavors are available.
"Ozone Vodka" of unique design distinguishes by its exceptional clearness and perfectly balanced taste. This vodka is produced from selected grain spirit and crystal clear water cleaned by special mineral filters. Tere are also "Ozone vodka Lime" and "Ozone vodka Melon" introduced to the market.
Bitters are an ancient and unique part of traditional Lithuanian culture. Bitters recipes were passed from generation to generation and one could find a bottle of bitters in every homestead. The recipe of “Herba Devynia” bitters family is directly related with pagan world-view and the division of the world into three mythological spheres – the underground, earth and sky. The composition of the bitters includes elements representing all the spheres – 9 roots (the underground), 9 peel and herbs (the earth), 9 leaves, blooms and fruit (the sky) – 27 natural vegetative ingredients in total. „Herba Devynia Bitter“ with a bitter-sweet taste and rich aroma, is one of the most mysterious drinks produced in Lithuania and has the status of the Lithuanian Culinary Heritage; "Herba Devynia Original" - second member of the family, based on the same traditions but created for those who admire innovations; "Herba Devyania Herbs & Citrus" is the youngest and most modern member of the family, with the sweet citrus taste and wonderfully seductive colour.
Starka is a special kind of vodka, which, according to the legend, was matured and produced to celebrate the birth of the first son. Following ancient traditional recipes, the real starka should be of bright brown colour and slightly burning taste. The drink should be produced of an infusion of apple-tree and pear-tree leaves and other vegetative material.
It is a drink of slightly burning yet piquantly pleasant taste, rye-bread-like aroma and clear dark brown colour. One of the ingredients of the bitters that make it special is bread kvass.
Bitter is being produced by "Stumbras" for more than five decades. It is called to honour the charming resort of Palanga and mood of the bitters should remind of sough of the Baltic Sea, sand dunes and fascinating romantic sun sets. The drink is of slightly sour taste with the shades of rowan berries, rich and well balanced aroma and brownish red colour.
"Dainava" is another more than fifty years old bitter produced by the company. Dainava is a historical region of Lithuania rich of forests, fast rivers, mushrooms and berries. The subtle taste of the bitters was created to praise Dainava region and its treasures of nature.
“Gloria” is an exquisite brandy that contains its own secrets, all of which are revealed in the glass of this drink. Unfolding notes of citrus fruit peel, orange tree blossoms, raisins and vanilla, sparkling with lucid amber colour. The success of this brandy is proved by the abundance of members in this family: "Gloria 5", "Gloria 7", "Gloria Le Citron", "Gloria XO" and flavoured Gloria's "Pear Flavoured Gloria", "Plum Flavoured Gloria" and "Honey and Lemon Flavoured Gloria".
“Imperial XII” brandy has the colour of dark amber, as well as the aroma of dried fruit and blooms, harmoniously matching with the mature and rich taste. “Imperial XII” is the brandy of noble taste, which passed even twelve stages of production.
“Krupnikas” is Lithuanian honey liqueur whose recipe secrets were passed from generation to generation in centuries. Honey and herbs liqueur was created by Franciscan-branch monks who lived in M.K. Radvila Našlaitėlis castle in Nesvyžius. Guests were first officially feasted on the liqueur in 1593 when the construction of Nesvyžius castle was finished.The liqueur is made of natural bee-honey and herbal infusion kept in special oak barrels for a long time.
"Poema" family liqueurs are produces only from natural ingredients and fruits picked up by hands. Three different tastes, "Poema cream liqueur with coffee", "Poema cherry liqueur with brandy" and "Poema plum liqueur with plum".
“Santa Lucia” liqueurs are produced with natural juice according to original recipes. "Santa Lucia Raspberry", "Santa Lucia Cherry" and "Santa Lucia Wild Strawberry" are found in the family.
Plum Liqueur with Brandy
This liqueur of subtle taste produced according to original recipe. The drink reveals original composition of French brandy and prunes.
"Drinks International Vodka Challenge 2009" (United Kingdom) - "Lithuanian vodka" received silver medal award
"Prodexpo 2008" (Moscow, Russia) – "Lithuanian vodka" Gold was named "Prodexpo Star"
In 2007 liqueur "Krupnikas" and bitter "999" were included into the list of Lithuanian Culinary Heritage
"Prodexpo 2007" (Moscow, Russia) – "Stumbro Šimtmečio" received gold medal award
"San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2006" (San Francisco, USA) – bitter "999" received double gold medal award
"San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2006" (San Francisco, USA) – "Lithuanian vodka" Original received gold medal award
"San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2006" (San Francisco, USA) – "Lithuanian vodka" Gold received gold medal award
"Beverage Testing Institute 2005" (Chicago, USA) – "Lithuanian vodka" Gold received gold medal award
In the end of 2009, "Stumbras" museum was opened in Kaunas. In the museum visitors can learn about history of culture of alcohol consumption and production of strong alcoholic beverages in Lithuania. Visitors also can learn about history of "Stumbras" factory – a century old buildings, archive documents and photos.