In 1863, a young entrepreneur Pyotr Arsenievich Smirnov, a native of serfs, decided to open a small vodka factory in Moscow, which initially employed only 25 people.
Twenty years have passed, and more than one and a half thousand people have already worked at Smirnov's enterprises. In 1899, Pyotr Arsenievich sent several samples of his products to the World Exhibition in Paris. The Parisians were especially delighted with the "Nezhinskaya Ryabina" tincture, about which many French newspapers wrote. Experts were amazed at the exquisite taste of this drink. It is not surprising that Nezhinskaya Ryabina received the Big Gold Medal, and competitors were interested in the recipe.
It was then that a surprise awaited them, prepared by the cunning businessman Smirnov. It is clear that winemakers, planning to make a drink that is not inferior in quality to Smirnov's, sent their procurers to the city of Nizhyn, 80 miles from Chernigov. But, the tincture made from mountain ash, collected in Nizhyn, was not popular - it tasted too bitter. No matter how they tried to soften the bitterness with syrup and broths, nothing worked, Smirnov's tincture was out of competition.
However, Smirnov himself did not need to carry rowan from Nizhyn, he found it much closer - in the village of Nevezhino, near Suzdal. It was there that he bought mountain ash from local peasants, froze it, and then let it make tincture. Nevezhinskaya mountain ash was distinguished by its wonderful taste and almost complete absence of bitterness.
Initially, Smirnov wanted to name the tincture “Nevezhinskaya Ryabina”, but he quickly realized that the name itself would tell competitors the place where this variety grows. And to the village from Moscow only 150 versts, it will not be difficult to find it. So the tincture got the name "Nezhinskaya". Firstly, the name was more euphonic, and secondly, it would send competitors to distant Nizhyn.
Due to the quality of its drinks, the firm of P. A. Smirnov received the title of "Supplier of the Court of His Imperial Majesty and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich". Smirnov's enterprises produced goods for 17-20 million rubles a year, and taxes were equal to about half of the budget of the Russian army.
By the way, in the town of Myshkin, Yaroslavl region, where Pyotr Smirnov came from, the Smirnov Vodka Museum is currently open. It is regularly visited by the descendants of the famous winemaker living in different countries of the world.