When the production of bottled beer began in the Russian Empire in the 1890s, many breweries were opened in the Caucasus, including in Armenia – namely, in Yerevan, Alexandropol (Gyumri), and Kars. Armenian producers received high-quality barley – raw materials for making beer – mainly from the Kars region.
In Yerevan, the first bottled beer producer was businessman Harutyun Avetyants. His beer factory was located in one of the most picturesque places of the city – in the Hrazdan gorge, very close to the present-day Victory Bridge.
Here, Harutyun Avetyants inherited a cotton wool factory from his father Khachatur Avetyants. He expanded it and launched a new rice processing plant. After that, in 1892, after importing the appropriate production equipment, Avetyants founded the “Zanga” factory for the production of bottled beer.
According to contemporaries, the products of Avetyants’ plant possessed remarkable taste which was imparted by the spring water used for the production of the beer.
The production of the plant was not only considered the best in the South Caucasus but was also in demand in the Russian Empire and even in Europe, where Avetyants’ beer received top awards at exhibitions in Rome and Naples in 1910. The first picture below shows the label of a bottle of “Bok-Bir” beer produced at the beginning of the 20th century at the Yerevan “Zanga” factory.
In Alexandropol, at the end of the 19th century, beer was produced by businessmen Yegor Oskanov (Voskanyan), Hamazasp Tsagikyan, and M. Dzitokhtsyan. They not only produced beer for local consumption but also exported it to other cities of the Caucasus.
For example, M. Dzitokhtsyan owned a huge specialized warehouse store in Tiflis where only beer brewed and bottled at his factory was successfully sold. The middle picture below shows the label of a bottle of beer produced at the factory of Yegor Oskanov in Alexandropol.
Interestingly, the manufacturer’s name and surname on the logo are written in Armenian – Եգոր Օսկանով. The logo also depicts the award “For Diligence” of the Russian Empire established as an incentive reward for entrepreneurs of the Russian Empire.
Breweries operated in the regional center city of Kars, which at the end of the 19th century was developing at a rapid pace. Here, the leaders of the sphere were the beer factories of Melikov brothers and A. Bauer. The products of these two factories were also widely exported, winning awards at various exhibitions.
It should also be noted that one of the largest factories in the Caucasus was the Nadezhda plant in Vladikavkaz founded in 1882 by Armenian entrepreneur I. Terterov (Terteryan). The plant was known for working fully on the basis of high-quality German technology and equipment. The bottommost picture shows the labels of bottles of beer produced at the I. Terterov plant in Vladikavkaz.