Smirnoff Vodka

Smirnoff Vodka

Posted on January 13, 2015

Smirnoff is one of the best-selling vodkas in the world. From its beginnings in the 1860s, here’s our Smirnoff Vodka timeline.

Piotr Arsenieyevich Smirnov founds the Smirnov vodka distillery. It is the first in the world to use a charcoal filtering process.

The Smirnov factory receives the mark of the official purveyors to the Imperial Russian court.

Piotr Smirnov dies. His son, Vladimir Smirnov, takes over the company.

At the start of the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks confiscate the Smirnoff distillery and shut it down. Piotr Smirnov’s third son, Vladimir, is imprisoned and sentenced to death. He escapes and flees to Constantinople.

Vladimir Smirnov reopens the factory in Constantinople.

Vladimir Smirnov moves the company to Lwów and changes the name from Smirnov to Smirnoff.

A second distillery is opened in Paris.

During the Great Depression, Vladimir Smirnov sells the company to Russian emigree Rudoplh Kunett. Kunett moves the company to the United States and sells the company to G.F. Heublein & Bro.

G.F. Heublein & Bro. changes its name to Heublein, Inc.

Smirnoff vodka is featured in the first James Bond film, Dr. No, and is featured in most subsequent Bond films.

A descendant of Piotr Smirnov in Russia begins producing vodka under the name Smirnov and claims it is “The Only Real Smirnov.” American Smirnoff sues and wins the sole right to the trademark.

Smirnoff Black is introduced in the United States.

Smirnoff Mule is introduced in the United Kingdom.

Diageo, the company that now owns Smirnoff, is formed by a merger of Guinness and Grandmet.

Smirnoff Ice is introduced.

Late 1990s
Smirnoff introduces flavored vodkas including Raspberry, Mandarin, Green Apple, Raspberry, Cranberry, Raspberry, Citrus, and Vanilla.

Jan. 26, 2005
The New York Times does a blind taste test of 21 high-end vodkas. They throw in the less prestifious Smirnoff “as a bit of mischief.” Smirnoff ends up winning the taste test.

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