By: The PH Team
KVINT is a winery and distillery based in Tiraspol, the capital of the unrecognized country of Transnistria.
Founded in 1897, the company produced only vodka until 1938, when it began producing brandies (cognac). It is the oldest still-operating commercial enterprise in the unrecognized country.
Locals in Transnistria consider KVINT a national treasure and a symbol of Transnistria and the Soviet Union. To show their praise, the factory is featured on the 5 Transnistrian Ruble banknote.
KVINT During the Soviet Union
KVINT was famous during the time of the Soviet Union. It was widely considered the best brandy (cognac) the former superpower had to offer.
In addition, the factory was one of only a few enterprises in the former Soviet Union which could assure a kosher production process.
Today, the quality of KVINT products is still widely revered in the region and around ex-Soviet states.
KVINT is one of Transnistria's largest exporters to Europe, ex-Soviet states, China and others. In addition, KVINT products have gone to the Vatican and even into space.
The company was privatized in 2006 and is owned by Sheriff, the second largest company in Transnistria. Sheriff owns everything from supermarkets, to gas stations, to car dealerships to factories.
KVINT's annual production is approximately ten million litres of alcoholic drinks. Its annual revenue is about $50 million, about 5% of Transnistria's total GDP.
Although bottles are labeled "Made in Moldova," the company is in fact located in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria. This is for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, because Transnistria, internationally recognized as part of Moldova, is not recognized as a sovereign country and bottles must be printed with the name of a country of origin in order to export.
Secondly, like most companies in Transnistria, KVINT has opted to take part in Moldova's trade agreement with the European Union and has greatly benefited from doing so.
Tourists who visit Transnistria have the option of visiting the KVINT factory. By taking a guided tour of the premises, tourists get the opportunity to sample the finest brandy (cognac) from the Soviet Union.