Food and travel writer Benjamin Kemper has unveiled an article about how the legacy of the Armenian brandy which he says has been hard to shake ever since its introduction ages ago.
“Armenia is legendary for its open-armed hospitality to foreigners—a local proverb states that every guest is a gift from god,” the author says in th feature published on The Daily Beast.
After taking a sip for the first, the author decided to find out what made Armenian brandy so distinctive—”and why on earth such a stellar product wasn’t more widely known.”
Kemper citied Yerevan Brandy Company to learn more about the history of kanyak and taste brandies of various age as well.
He then goes on to recount how the Armenian brandy became Armenia’s “thing” specifically during the Soviet era. By the 1980s, a quarter of the brandy produced in the Soviet Union came from Armenia, a staggering figure considering that the republic constituted a mere .001 percent of the USSR’s landmass.
“But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so did brandy production. Across the region, people could hardly afford bread, let alone digestifs. Salvation for YBC—which remains the leading producer of Armenian brandy today—would come with controversy. In 1994 the French liquor corporation Pernod-Ricard acquired the ailing brand for $30 million ($52 million in today’s money),” the article says.
When leaving the factory, the author says he thought about “how dramatically Armenia had changed in the last century—evolving from a Soviet republic to a war-torn fledgling state to an unstable oligarchy to (thanks to the Velvet Revolution in 2018) a swiftly modernizing, Western-facing democracy. Through it all, brandy production never ceased. That is something worth raising a glass to.”