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Russian vodka attracts attention in Phil-Russian forum

FREE-tasting of the best Russian vodka has become an attractive sidelight for Filipinos checking out the ongoing Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibits (PRBFEx) at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).

The Russian Prestige Vodka, named “The best vodka in 2009” in a Moscow international competition, has joined the exhibits designed to stimulate trade and investments between the Philippines and Russia. The PRBFEx is positioning the Philippines as an entry point for Russian trade and cultural relationships with countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Alexander Komolov, a consultant of the Philippine Russian Business Assembly (PRBA) and is marketing the Russian Prestige Vodka, joined the 30-strong delegation from Russia led by Vice Governor Igor Metelsky of St. Petersburg, Russian Federation and celebrated Russian sculptor Gregori Pototsky who arrived in Cebu to participate in the four-day business forum and exhibits.

Komolov is offering free-tasting of his premium vodka that won the Moscow international competition in April 29, 2009. The competition attracted more than 70 samples from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. All contestants were tough selection during closed “blind” tastings. The samples were evaluated by professional tasters vodka distillery industry organoleptic characteristics (color, taste, aroma).

The forum, which is on its second day, has scheduled discussions for tourism, education, energy, real estate and retirement facilities, labor placement and outsourcing, and trade promotion and development. There are also trade exhibitions, architecture and art show and a photo exhibit throughout the CICC until Saturday.

Vodka came to Russia in the late 14th century. In 1386, the Genoese ambassadors brought the first aqua vitae or “the water of life” to Moscow and presented it to Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy. According to a legend, around 1430 a monk called Isidore from Chudov Monastery inside the Moscow Kremlin made a recipe of the first Russian vodka. Having a special knowledge and distillation devices he became an author of the new type of alcoholic beverage of a new, higher quality.

This “bread wine” as it was initially known, was produced for a long time exclusively in the Grand Duchy of Moscow and in no other principality of Rus’ (this situation persisted until the era of industrial production). That’s why this beverage for a long time was associated with Moscow. Until the mid-18th century, it remained relatively low on alcohol content, not exceeding 40% by volume. It was mostly sold in taverns and was quite expensive.

By the 1860s, due to the government policy of promoting consumption of state-manufactured vodka, it became the drink of choice for many Russians. In 1863, the government monopoly on vodka production was repealed, causing prices to plummet and making vodka available even to low-income citizens. By 1911, vodka comprised 89% of all alcohol consumed in Russia.

Today, Russian Prestige has become one of the premium vodka in what is now known as the Russian Federation.

“Increased appreciation for culture and heritage that will lead to better understanding between the two nations is important to stimulating tourism, trade, and investments,” said Honorary Russian consult Armi Lopez-Garcia.Gov. Garcia, for her part, said the forum has expanded from a “simple business forum” to a “real cultural and arts exchange.”

St. Petersburg Vice Gov. Igor Metelsky, for his part, thanked the Cebu Province, its sister province, for its contribution to the forum. He said the forum was a “very good tradition” and opens up opportunities and strengthens ties between the Philippines and Russia.


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