Who Really Invented Vodka?

Who Really Invented Vodka?

2009, Society  -  Playlist 27 Comments
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Ratings: 7.20/10 from 20 users.

Who Really Invented Vodka?Vice traveled to the front lines of the Vodka Wars and discovered that the tortured history of Russian-Polish relations can be saved in a bottle.

In the fall of 1977, Poland instigated a trade war with Russia over the right to produce vodka. It was the first time that Poland officially tried to claim the drink as its own, but it would not be the last. This is the story of the Vodka Wars.

Vice headed to the Russian vodka museum, where they were celebrating 500 years of Russian vodka. As soon as they got into the museum, they were stuck in a screening room and hosts showed them the history of Russia according to vodka.

The museum was a little light on any evidence regarding the Russian origins of vodka. But this isn't just about vodka. It's about Russian nationalism. And vodka, like oil and gas, is just another commodity that can be traded for power. To really understand the Vodka Wars, we had to understand who the hell we're dealing with.

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Merlin
Merlin
5 years ago

I have a Polish friend who is big on Polish history. He says it was the Pigs, lapping at the bottom of leaking piles of potatoes, getting drunk and stumbling around the barn yard that first got the Farmers attention, and that is the source for the discovery of Vodka in Poland. The importation of the potato into Europe then sets the timeline if REAL Vodka is made from Potatoes. There is a distillery in Poland that says it has been making potato Vodka, and in the same original pot stills, since hmm 1530 something as read from a little booklet they hang on the bottle neck, when I finally found a bottle of potato Vodka after a two year search back in 1992. Was an eye opener because back then everyone knew Vodka was made from Potatoes, so surprised to find almost all was just labeled "Grain neutral Spirits", which is just Straight Grain Alcohol, or common moonshine by most accounts, Faux Vodka in my humble opinion.

toms
toms
7 years ago

wikipedia vodka

toms
toms
7 years ago

The world's first written mention of the drink and of the word "vodka" was in 1405 from Akta Grodzkie recorder of deeds,[9] in the court documents from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland[

fk_censors
fk_censors
10 years ago

I usually like Vice documentaries, but this one was an exception, despite an interesting subject. They could have picked a smarter reporter - this guy's questions were generally idiotic and his narration was simplistic and parallel to the subject in many cases. He saved face toward the very end, with the conclusions, but I wonder how much better this doc could have been with a marginally sharper guy in charge. Seeing him party for half the documentary didn't bring any new insight to the subject (nor was it that entertaining). The sources and investigative method were decent, but I would have liked to hear more from the ex-KGB guy in Washington DC and from the Western vodka expert in Poland, they were the most articulate and had the most intelligent things to say.

Arek Husak
Arek Husak
11 years ago

It proves that vodka originally comes from Poland and during soviet regime was embedded into soviet/Russian documentation.Really good, modern attempt to complexed and problematic issues during soviet domination in Eastern Europe.Well done Ivar, great sense of humor and yet very educating piece of documentary.

Matt van den Ham
Matt van den Ham
11 years ago

so basically this documentary proves nothing...ah well, at least it was entertaining.

jvr
jvr
11 years ago

GOOD JOB IVAR !!! VERY MUCH enjoyed your war reportage :)

Jack1952
Jack1952
11 years ago

I thought this film made a stronger case for Poland as the birthplace for vodka. It may not be this way but on the "expert" investigation of VICE I'm going with Poland. Poland wins the third round of the vodka wars. This third round is unofficial of course.

Harry Nutzack
Harry Nutzack
11 years ago

funny, the subject reminds of the "pisco wars" between peru and chile. i have friends of both nationalities (one of the joys of south florida living is exposure to a taste of the truly bizarre nationalism, and "matters of pride" related to it, of south americans). both camps have told me they actually fought border wars in the 19th century over which country has the original claim to a fortified wine beverage "pisco", which is basically a brandy spiked red wine. both countries still engage in trademark litigation back and forth over claims of "the original pisco". if you sit down in a bar in miami that happens to have both chilenos and peruanos you will eventually (most often sooner than later) hear the trading of barbs back and forth (they have been regional rivals since the days of simon bolivar), and the topic will quickly turn to pisco (if the barflies are chilean and equadorian, then it is whose nation has more volcanoes, roflmao), each accusing the other of being usurpers of the coveted title. of course, the reality is the beverage dates back to the days of spanish rule of both countries, so neither nation really has a claim of origination, though this factoid never seems to quell the discussion (or rare bloodshed) related to the original blender of the potent potable. it's refreshing to see such rivalry occurs in europe for equally ridiculous prideful claims. perhaps on my next encounter with "snowbirds" i'll claim american origins of maple syrup, and see if i can spark a similar rivalry. our 200 year long peace may well hang in the balance, roflmao