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Pyotr Smirnov founded his vodka distillery in Moscow in the 1860s under the trading name of PA Smirnoff, pioneering charcoal filtration in the 1870s, and becoming the first to utilize newspaper ads along with charitable contributions to the clergy to stifle anti-vodka sermons, capturing two-thirds of the Moscow market by 1886. His brand was reportedly the tsar's favorite. When he died, he was succeeded by his third son Vladimir Smirnov (? - 1939). The company flourished and produced more than 4 million cases of vodka per year.


Smirnoff Black, No. 55.
In 1904 the Tsar nationalized the Russian vodka industry and Vladimir Smirnoff was forced to sell his factory and brand. During the October Revolution, of 1917 the Smirnoff family had to flee. Vladimir Smirnov re-established the factory in 1920 in Constantinople (present day 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 licenses, and contacted John Martin, president of Heublein, who agreed to buy the rights to Smirnoff for the value of the distilling equipment. His Board thought he was mad. Sales were very slow until one day they ran out of corks and had to use whiskey corks instead. In Kentucky sales rocketed as the distributor started marketing Smirnoff as 'white whiskey, no taste, no smell'. After the war, John Martin was sitting in a bar with a friend and a girlfriend. The girlfriend owned a ginger beer brand which wasn't selling and the friend had a stock of copper mugs which he also couldn't sell. They mixed Smirnoff with the ginger beer in a copper mug, added lime and the Moscow Mule was born.
In 1982, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company acquired Heublein Inc. for $1.4 billion dollars. RJR Nabisco sold the division to Grand Metropolitan in 1987.[3] Grand Metropolitan merged with Guinness to form Diageo in 1997.

Since the 1990s

A bottle of Smirnoff Red Label vodka, No. 21.
In 1990, the Berlin Wall came down and Helmut Kohl did a deal with Gorbachev allowing the reunification of Germany provided the Soviet army could remain in East Germany and be paid by West Germany for three years. Suddenly 500,000 Soviet soldiers were paid in hard currency and had almost nothing to do except drink. They then proceeded to spend their currency on Marlboro cigarettes, Levi jeans and Smirnoff vodka. The US-made variety of Smirnoff vodka was especially popular. The London office of Heublein was inundated with orders and the Vice President, Jeremy Collis, set about exploiting this 'gusher' to the fullest extent possible. Huge in store Smirnoff displays were set up in the Russian army stores and the officers' messes were renamed Smirnoff Clubs. Individual messes started serving in excess of 200 litres a night of Smirnoff. The Soviet forces became the biggest market in Europe for Smirnoff outside the UK. Smirnoff was shipped to Germany at the rate of 20,000 bottles a day. Moskowskaya and Stolichnaya's market share in Germany dropped from 100% to almost nothing.
During the 1990s one of Piotr Smirnov's descendants started producing Smirnov (Смирновъ in Ukraine) vodka in Russia, claiming to be "The Only Real Smirnov".[4] After a number of lawsuits, Smirnoff successfully reclaimed its trademark, while in 2006 Diageo concluded a joint venture deal with the Smirnov company.[5]
The Smirnoff company had the naming rights to the Smirnoff Music Centre, a concert amphitheater in Dallas, Texas from 2000-2008 [1]. They also sponsored the Smirnoff Underbelly, a major venue at the Edinburgh Fringe.
In the late 1990s, Smirnoff introduced a series of new products onto the UK and later the European and North American market, which quickly became popular among young people, especially within the club scene (See "Alcopops").
There are two different products by the name of Smirnoff Ice. One, sold in France and the United States, is a citrus-flavored malt beverage (5.5% ABV) with variants in 'Original,' and 'Triple Black.' The other, sold in Europe (excluding France), Latin America, Australia and Canada, is a premixed vodka drink. It also has variants in 'Original' and 'Black Ice' (or in some markets, 'Triple Black' or 'Double Black'), ranging from 4.5% in the UK, to 7% ABV in different markets.
The Smirnoff Ice marketed in the USA does not actually contain vodka according to the official Smirnoff website.[6] It is more similar to beer than to vodka, primarily because it is brewed. However outside of the USA and countries who receive US manufactured vodka it does contain Smirnoff Vodka No. 21.
Smirnoff Ice Twisted was a spin-off of the American Smirnoff Ice that featured flavors such as Mandarin Orange and Green Apple. The confusion in branding between Smirnoff Twist Vodka and Smirnoff Twisted Malt Beverage resulted in the decision to drop the "Twisted" from the flavored line of Smirnoff Ice. Current Smirnoff Ice flavors include Watermelon, Wild Grape, Passionfruit, Mango, Triple Black, Pomegranate Fusion, Arctic Berry (Blueberry), Green Apple Bite, Strawberry Acai, Pineapple and Raspberry Burst. It is sold in 22 oz. [650 ml] bottles and six-packs of 12 oz. [355 ml] bottles.
The next line of Smirnoff's malt beverages to be produced was "Raw Teas", similar to the brand Twisted Tea. It comes in flavors such as Lemon, Peach, Raspberry and Green Tea. This product line has been marketed most notably with the "Tea Partay" music video and website. It is sold in six-packs of 12 oz. [355 ml] bottles.
Smirnoff Source, a lightly carbonated beer-alternative, was released in May 2007. It is citrus-flavored and made with alcohol (3.5% ABV) and spring water and is sold in 4-packs of 1-quart [947 ml] bottles.
A line of 18 flavored vodkas with the "Twist" moniker appended on the end of the name have also been introduced. Flavors include Green Apple, Orange, Cranberry, Raspberry, Citrus (Lemon), Vanilla, Strawberry, Black Cherry, Watermelon, Lime, Blueberry, White Grape, Melon (Honeydew/Cantaloupe), Pomegranate, Passion Fruit, Pear, Pineapple, and most recently Mango.
Smirnoff trialed in the UK and Canada during 2004 a new blend of vodka entitled Smirnoff Penka. Marketing and distribution was handled by The Reserve Brands of Diageo plc. As of 2007 Penka continues to be available in the UK.[7]
In a 2005 New York Times blind tasting of 21 world-class vodkas, Smirnoff won as the "hands-down favorite".[8]
The newest addition to the Smirnoff family is the Cocktail Range, which was introduced in 2010. Pomegranate Martini with Meyer Lemon flavoured Liquor and pomegranate juice, Mojito with a dash of mint and kafir lime and Grand Cosmopilitan wth cranberry juice.[9]


(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smirnoff) www.smirnoff.com Smirnoff JPG 2480x1748 logo