history of vodka production in Estonia

he beginning of vodka production in Estonia dates back to the year 1485, the first written document of the statutes of the brewers’ company of the Tallinn Great Guild.

In the 15th–17th century, vodka production was a source of income for city people only and common people were not allowed to take it up.

Vodka production required a lot of ingredients, generated waste and was a flammable undertaking in town conditions, so it was taken to the countryside where both landlords and peasants started making the spirit.

In the middle of the 17th century, peasants were prohibited from making vodka, so it remained the privilege of landlords only. Vodka was produced for own use, for selling in taverns and for export.

The 18th–19th centuries witnessed the first golden era in Estonian spirit making because the Russian Empire and especially its new and growing capital Saint Petersburg, needed more vodka than the little Estonia was able to produce.

In the second half of the 19th century, modern spirit factories gradually squeezed manual spirit making out of the distilleries of manors.

The greatest spirit-related success story of the young Republic of Estonia was the smuggling of vodka to Finland. During the Soviet era, Estonian spirit was mainly flowing towards the east, to Leningrad where the world-famous Stolichnaya Vodka was made from it.

Today, all borders are open for Estonian spirit again, and the peculiarity of our vodka has received worthy recognition under the name ‘Estonian vodka’ in the entire European Union.

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