If you associate vodka with Russia, you may not have heard about Kvass, the Russian beverage that is arguably more popular than vodka. While other traditional drinks are appreciated for their taste, Kvass is Russia’s pride so much so that they deemed this drink as their Coca-Cola. Want to know more about this beloved Russian concoction? Read on…

The drink was so valuable in Russia during Prince Vladimir’s baptism, kvass was the main drink served

In 996 A.D. Prince Vladimir was getting baptized as a Christian and during this time, this event was a big deal. Apparently, the prince instructed that all the guests be given “food, honey, and kvass… in barrels.”

Made from bread

The main ingredient in Kvass is Russian brown bread. The bread is soaked in water, then yeast and other ingredients are added depending on the recipe of the person who’s making it. The entire mixture would be left to ferment for a couple of days. This fermentation process results in natural carbonation of the drink and its distinctive sour taste.

In the 1960s and 1970s Russians lined-up waiting for the kvass truck

During summer time, instead of waiting for ice-cream trucks, Russians lined up waiting for the kvass truck. The drink was sold from big barrels on wheels and served out of communal glass mugs. The mugs were just given a quick rinse before being filled to serve another customer.

Russians had been drinking it for centuries as an alternative to water

In the past centuries, Russians would rather drink kvass than water since it was safer.  The fermentation process helped produce acid that lowers the pH level to the point that it can kill bad bacteria. This means that during the early times, it was much safer to drink the beverage than questionable water.

Russians rekindled their love-affair with Kvass that the Coca-Cola company produced their own brand of this bread drink in 2008

As the Soviet Union came to an end in the 1990s, Russians became enchanted with anything Western, including Coke and Pepsi which led to the decline in the popularity of kvass. However, after a couple of years, the Russian’s fascination with anything western started to die down. In the early 2000s, the sale of the beverage greatly increased once again prompting the Coca-Cola beverage company to produce their own kvass brand.