‘Green Mark?’ we hear you say. Well let us explain that choice of name through a quick look back at the history of Russian vodka. Between the 1920s and 1950s there was a Russian government body called Glavspirttrest which was tasked with monitoring and regulating the quality of the country’s vodka. Russian vodka drinkers looking to ensure they were buying the real McCoy would look for the organisation’s seal of approval, also know as the ‘Green Mark’. This showed that the vodka in question had undergone a series of rigorous tests that guaranteed its quality.
However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Green Mark seal of approval (and the quality standards it represented) were pushed aside by modern production. The situation remained unchanged until 1998 when the Russian Alcohol Group decided to bring the Green Mark back to life.
After extensive research in to Glavspirttrest records, as well as consumer tastings, the group launched Green Mark Vodka which proudly bears the Glavspirttrest seal. They were obviously on to something good as the sales of Green Mark have reflected: nine million cases were sold in Russia in 2008, making it the number one vodka in its category in the Russian market and in the top five selling vodkas worldwide (Drinks International).
The Russian Alcohol Group felt it was very important for the recipe to be recreated faithfully, with no alterations in the wheat, water, yeast and distillation process, but finding the right ingredients was not easy. For example, the recipe calls for naturally produced yeast, but modern production methods create yeast in laboratories. Lucikly though a small family operation was found still producing yeast in the same natural way since the 1940s.
The good news for British vodka drinkers is that this historic vodka has now secured shelf-space in Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda. In the convenience sector, Nisa, Costcutter and Co-op now also stock Green Mark.
To find out more, check out the Green Mark Vodka Facebook page