The History of Moscow Distillery Cristall
The Plant Today  


The History of Moscow Distillery Cristall

In Russian Empire the state monopoly for products and sale of alcoholic beverages was implemented with the decree of the Finance Minister of Russia Sergey Juljevich Vitte in 1896.

In 1901 the monopoly came to Moscow. Moscow State Wine Warehouse 1, the future plant "Cristall", was situated on the bank of the Jauza River, and was the largest and the most powerful enterprise. In a year it had to produce 2.100.000 wine buckets (about 2,6 million decalitres), while two other "warehouses" only 1.050.000 buckets (a state vodka bucket - 12 litres).

One and a half thousand people worked at Warehouse 1 at that time.
The building of the warehouse - a remarkable sample of industrial architecture of the beginning of the XX century it keeps its historical appearance to present day.

The opening and consecration of Warehouse 1 was in June 24, 1901. In the beginning of its history the plant was producing only three kinds of vodka: "simple", "improved" and "boyarskaya". It was originally planned to produce 600.000 buckets of first-rate quality vodka per year. However a week later after the plant opening, the question of increasing its production arose because of huge demand for state wine of the supreme clearing. For this purpose it was offered at first to increase the number of batteries (filters) for release of high-quality vodka and then to reconstruct the whole warehouse in order to produce wine of supreme clearing.

From the very beginning future "Cristall" was an advanced industrial complex with the most up-to-date equipment and multistage monitoring system of product quality.

By 1914 production assortment had extended up to five names: at that time it was producing vodkas Moskovskaya Osobennaya, Hlebnoye Vino (Grain wine), Stolovoye Vino (Table Wine), "Gorilka" and nalivka Zapekanka ("Baked pudding"). Moskovskaya Osobennaya, perhaps, is the most famous kind of Russian vodka developed by great chemist D.I.Mendeleyev.

Since October 31, 1914 the plant was closed because of "the dry law implementation for the period of war in the country. The military hospital was situated for some time in its building, however an interdiction on production was not absolute. Warehouse 1 was allowed to make spirit for needs of the Army and establishments of national health, to sell wine to foreign citizens and diplomatic department, to carry out orders for delivery of spirit to allied France. The part of capacities was reoriented to produce medicines on alcohol basis.

In 1917 the Revolutionary Government prolonged the interdiction for producing and sale of alcoholic beverages. In August 1923 the Central Executive Committee and SNC of the USSR issued a joint decision about renewal of manufacturing and trade of alcoholic beverages. By January 1, 1924 the plant had produced 844720 litres of nalivkas with concentration 20 (more concentrated liquors were under the interdiction). Only since 1925 the plant restarted to produce more concentrated beverages - 30 and higher.

The first vodka, which was produced at the plant after cancellation of "the dry law, received the name "rykovka" among people (after the name of the Minister of Economics Rykov).

In 1937 unified recipe standards on all assortment of released products were implemented in all vodka distilleries of the USSR. The experience of former state warehouse 1 in making of table vodkas from spirit of double rectification (mark "prima-prima") distributed all over the country.

In the same year strong liquors (chartrez, benedictine, queurassaux) and dessert liquors (pink, chocolate, vanilla) appeared in the Distillerys assortment.

During the Great Patriotic War the Distillery mastered military professions.

Its workshops, besides traditional products produced dry alcohol; Molotovs Cocktail was poured into bottles for vodka and wine. Despite of bombardments (the main building of the distillery was almost completely burnt out on the 22nd of July 1941 from the bomb hit during the massive strike of Moscow by German aircraft), flammable products were put on production line by self-denying efforts of the Distillery workers. For work during the war the Distillery was awarded with the Banner of the State Defense Committee.
After the Great Victory the Distillery turned completely to peace production.

In 1945 Workshop 1 was opened that made the highest quality beverages for the Kremlin elite. Each bottle that left workshop was supplied with certificate with the list of surnames and personal signatures of experts responsible for its release.

In 1953 the well-known vodka "Stolichnaya" was created at the Distillery. Its inventor was extra-class distiller V.G. Svirida. In 1954 this kind of vodka received the international recognition: at the procedure of "blind testing vodka "Stolichnaya" won over the well-known mark Smirnoff.

In January 1987 the Distillery received its present name "Cristall". In 1993 Joint Stock Company Moscow Distillery "Cristall" and its trade mark were registered.


ISO 9001 certified