Coca-Cola Kvas

Coca Cola Kvas - Kruzhka & BochkaBy announcing they are to make Kvas in Russia, Coca Cola have confirmed that there is no market they are not prepared to take on.

Coca-Cola, who have spent two years developing their own special Kvas recipie, began production of Kruzhka and Bochka (Mug and Barrell) at the beginning of this month. According to Coca-Cola’s President, Kruzhka and Bochk will depart from Coca-Cola’s traditional production methods, in that it will be “a natural product with no preservatives.” Proud of its naturalness and tradtion , they plan to market their new Kvass with the slogan “Kruzhka and Bochka – Real Kvass.”

Personally, I would have preferred “Koka-Kvas”, but that’s just me.

Anyway, before anyone’s even tasted Koka-Kvas Kruzhka and Bochka, it’s received a mixed reaction from Russians. Predictably, there are those who are protesting about the “Cola-nization” of Russia but there are also quite a few entrepreneurial Kvas manufacturers who are delighted that Coca-Cola have entered the market. Nikola Volkov, Marketing Director of Deka told the Guardian.

“If their kvas is sold alongside Coke it will improve its image among young people and raise the whole sector.”

Kvas TankerKvas is the fastest non-alcoholic beverage market in Russia today – according to Canadean, a beverage research company, sales increased by 43 per cent to $461 million in 2007 – which makes it the market for Coca-Cola to get into. In fact, the market is growing so fast, that there are even rumours that Pepsi plans to enter, with it’s own Pepsi-Kvas.

But money is a secondary matter for the purists who read Siberian Light.

The real question is – will Coca-Kvas ever taste as good as the Kvas you get from yellow tankers in the street?

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14 Responses

  1. GER O'BRIEN says:

    The short answer Andy is ‘NO’:-). I had some straight from the yellow belly when I first went in 1995, and thought it was delicious, and anything I’ve ever tasted since from a bottle hasnt been as nice. Cool post Andy; Kvas is actually quite a serious subject!:-) Even from a bottle its beats the pants off western soft-drinks.

  2. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Actually in 1999 a friend of mine bought me a ‘Kvas-mix’, out of a box, that you make at home. It didnt work out too well, though that couldve been my fault. I wonder if the boxed stuff can still be bought.
    Sorry for the successive comments!

  3. Coca Cola has been interested in that market for decades:

    http://www.filmforum.org/films/123.html

    The above linked moive was essentially a Coca Cola advertisement. It makes reference to wanting to crack the Soviet and Soviet bloc market.

    Pepsi beat Coke to the USSR.

    The Russian kvas drinkers I know aren’t thrilled with this latest Coke concoction.

  4. Tim Newman says:

    Oh jesus, I hate that stuff, especially out of the yellow bowsers (do those things ever get cleaned, BTW?). We’ve advanced one step in Sakhalin though: where there used to be a yellow bowser, we now have a flimsy stall filled with green plastic barrels of the stuff.

  5. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Pepsi beat Coke to the USSR.”

    That is certainly true, and i have noticed that there are far more Pepsi reklami vs Coke in Russia than there is at home in Ireland or in NZ, where Coke is dominant. I wonder though do Russians drink more Pepsi than Coke, is it actually more popular there? I find Pepsi lovely from a glass bottle in a pub, but like Coke its not great from plastic.

    ”The Russian kvas drinkers I know aren’t thrilled with this latest Coke concoction.”

    I’m not suprised, it’d be like trying their hand at making a stout like Guinness. Some things just dont work, and Russians are really finnicky about Kvas, much like we are with stout. Can kvas be got in Brighton Beach Mike? Any kind at all?

    ”Oh jesus, I hate that stuff, especially out of the yellow bowsers (do those things ever get cleaned, BTW?).”

    hopefully at least once a year:-)

  6. There’re several version of kvas, with some being better than others.

    Among others, one Russian Guinness Stout lover I know made that comment. I got him hooked on the black and tan (G-Stout with a quality sweet ale like Harp or Killians mixed in).

    Just about anything from the old country can be bought in BB.

    The thing is that traditional kvas is much like how beer was once made en masse. Pasteurizing and whatever else preserving not being done, which results in a short life span.

    In the early 1990s micro brew beer halls were a craze here in the colonies. The take home micro brew often had a note on the bottle or keg to drink it within a limited time period.

  7. In stores, what if any mass produced versions of Russian made kvas exist?

    Is the street sold stuff mass produced for sale in stores? Is it made to last? Kvas seems to be one of those staples which have tended to be home made.

    Kind of like how a number of Russians like flavoring vodka with their own fruit and other concoctions.

    That became trendy in the colonies as well. Quite a site to see the vodka taking the color out of the fruit on the bottom.

  8. I just received a yes answer from Russia on those questions.

    As Andy’s post notes, it has made a bit of a comeback in recent years.

    Yet, a number of foreign travellers who journey throughout Russia aren’t up to snuff on this subject.

    If it’s sold in BB, it’s not as high profile as the Russian beer I’ve seen.

    I’ll specifically look for it the next time I’m there. Meantime, I’ll try contacting some folks familar with the BB scene.

  9. Andy says:

    There are quite a few shops in London dedicated to selling Russian food & drink, and you can get 1.5 litre bottles of kvas in all the ones I’ve visited.

    In addition, there are shops selling Eastern European food & drink popping up all over the place in England now, largely fuelled by immigration from new EU states like Poland. Most of the stores are oriented to the Polish market, but I’ve seen Kvas in quite a lot.

    (By the way, to give you an idea of how widespread these stores are now, there are even two in my sleepy Somerset hometown.)

  10. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Thanks for the info lads, its quite interesting as I do like kvas a lot.

    ”Among others, one Russian Guinness Stout lover I know made that comment. I got him hooked on the black and tan (G-Stout with a quality sweet ale like Harp or Killians mixed in).”

    🙂 i dont know if you’ve his liver a favour with that move, but Guinness is just lovely, and credit to you:-) Funny enough Russian men here drink it, but the women find it too heavy. Mind you as we all know there are few women more concerned about keeping their shapely bottoms than the Russkiye dyevushki:-)

    ”In the early 1990s micro brew beer halls were a craze here in the colonies. The take home micro brew often had a note on the bottle or keg to drink it within a limited time period.”

    I think even the bottled kvas in Russia doesnt last long Mike, maybe a month. Even drinking it you can tell this is something that doesnt keep. But its tasty mmm!

    ”Yet, a number of foreign travellers who journey throughout Russia aren’t up to snuff on this subject.”

    It depends when they arrived and how involved with Russians they are. You have to remember some expats spend years in Russia without learning the language even! The tend to hate the place and ended up stationed there by their company. Its a shame really cos there’s so much to do and see and feel.

    ”That became trendy in the colonies as well. Quite a site to see the vodka taking the color out of the fruit on the bottom.”

    That’ll be the ethanol binding to the organics in the fruit. A similar process, using ethyl acetate for example, is used to ”suck” the constituents out of various foods and then test them for various things like pesticides etc. I love chemistry:-)

    ”(By the way, to give you an idea of how widespread these stores are now, there are even two in my sleepy Somerset hometown.)”

    They are everywhere. I’m a small town in the west of Ireland doing a job and they have one. I’ll go there today and see can I get kvas and report back this evening:-)

  11. Off topic a bit, but of no doubt interest to some:

    http://www.russiatoday.ru/sports/news/24725

    In recent years, Russian sports fans are more evident at sporting competitions involving Russian teams outside of Russia.

  12. Like Chinatown’s Manhattan expansion, the BB former Soviet makeup has expanded into other areas of Coney Island.

    Some more on Zenit:

    http://www.russiatoday.ru/guests/detail/1211

  13. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Ura!!! Maladyets Peter!! Maladyets Zenit!!
    What a fine win it was. Zenit played quite well and fully deserved it. Rangers, on the other hand, were hopeless and righty leave empty-handed. Two terrific goals as well, especially the first one, made and scored by Denisov. Great stuff; hopefully they can do well in the Champions League next year. I’m sure that after years of being robbed by referees in Moscow Zenit fans are in heaven – a Russian Championship, UEFA Cup and a Champions League campaign ahead.

    ”Off topic a bit, but of no doubt interest to some:

    http://www.russiatoday.ru/sports/news/24725
    http://www.russiatoday.ru/guests/detail/1211

    Thanks for the links Mike, they were indeed of interest and I read them earlier and decided not to comment till the match was over. Did you get to see it there in New York? Maybe ESPN showed it or you can see it somehow. It was an OK game, Zenit controlled most of it, especially the first part of the first half and the latter part of the 2nd half. I can only imagine the party in Petes tonite, and I bet there’ll be a flood of children born there 9 months from now. It could have been different though -Rangers should maybe have had a penalty in the first half. But Petes deserved the win totally. Actually their style reminds me of the old Soviet counter-attacking style. Lethal.

    ”http://www.eatingintranslation.com/brighton_beach/index.html”

    You have a fair selection of eateries there:-) I guess you can get borsch, solyanka etc? Yummy.

  14. Rubashov says:

    Managed to get my hands on a bottle of Coke’s new Kvas here in Moscow. It’s actually pretty good compared to some of the other bottled Kvases you can find in the stores here. Has about the right balance of sweet, sour, bitter, bubble, and bread. Some of the ones I’ve tried are just plain awful. But no, nothing from the store even comes close to matching up with the homemade stuff, which is surprisingly easy to make. I’ve made several batches and haven’t died yet!