Yerevan Brandy Company
|Closed Joint-Stock Company|
|Ara Grigoryan (Managing Director)|
Yerevan Brandy Company (YBC) (Armenian: Երևանի Կոնյակի Գործարան (Yerevani Konyaki Gortsaran)) is the leading enterprise of Armenia for the production of alcoholic beverages. Its main brand name is Ararat. Currently the company boasts a large following, particularly in Russia, as well as in Ukraine and Belarus. The Russian market accounts for about 85% of exports. YBC is owned and operated by the French giant Pernod Ricard.
Yerevan Brandy Company was founded in 1887 by a wealthy 1st guild merchant Nerses Tairyants with the help of his cousin Vasily Tayrov. Tairyants began distilling brandy at the winery he had founded ten years earlier inside the former fortress of Yerevan. The enterprise reached its hey-day in 1898, when it was acquired by Nikolay Shustov, a well-known Russian vodka and liqueur producer. Shustov's company, Shustov and Sons were appointed as the supplier of His Imperial Majesty’s court. During the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900, the brandy received the Grand-Prix and the legal right to be called ‘cognac’, not ‘brandy’, following a blind degustation. In 1948, in connection with the reorganization of the Yerevan Wine & Brandy Factory (known until 1940 as the Shustov Factory), the factory building was separated into the Yerevan Wine Factory and the Yerevan Brandy Factory. The independent history of the plant began in 1953 when a new building was constructed specifically for the production of brandy. The new building stands on a high plateau at the other end of the Victory Bridge in Yerevan, opposite to the Yerevan Wine Factory. With its nine austere arches, and long flight of steps leading to it, the building is hailed as one of the best architectural examples of the Soviet period in Yerevan. In June 1998, the YBC was sold by the Government of Armenia to French distiller Pernod Ricard for $30 million, after competitive bidding organized by Admiralty Investment Group of New Zealand and Merrill Lynch International of London. Among the famous admirers of Armenian brandy were Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie and Frank Sinatra.
Production and current state
From 1953 until 1991 YBC was the only plant that produced Armenian brandy. The remaining plants of Armenia were occupied solely by distillation. YBC bottled ordinary (three -, four- and five-year) brandy's as well as the famous labelled brands ("Dvin", "Yerevan", "Nairi", "Vaspurakan", "Ararat" and "Akhtamar"). YBC's monopoly to bottle and export brandy was liquidated in 1991. For more than 20 years (from 1948 through 1973) the chief technologist of YBC was Markar Setrakyan (Hero of Socialist Labor).
In April 1999, on the initiative of YBC a new standard was introduced in the Republic of Armenia named "Armenian cognac", which rigidly regulates the production of this beverage. YBC remains the uncontested leader on the volume of production and the export of Armenian brandy. YBC possesses approximately 90% of the total reserve of genuine brandy in Armenia. Several YBC brands are inaccessible to the retail network and can only be obtained at factory's shop: "Erebuni" - 25 years, "Kilikia" - 30 years, "Sparapet" - 40 years and "Noah's Ark" - 70 years of ageing in wooden casks. Currently YBC brandy is supplied to 25 countries. 47 countries have registered the trade marks of YBC. For four years in a row the brand "Ararat" was favored in Russia as "Product of the year".
- BBC: Spirited return for Armenian brandy, 8 June, 2004
- "Cigar Clan Magazine, In the Steps of Churchill, Volume I 2004". www.cigarclan.com. 2004-01-11. Archived from the original on 2006-05-27. Retrieved 2011-03-21.