Poland is undoubtedly a country of vodka enthusiasts. So it’s no wonder why more and more of us are becoming real vodka connoisseurs – after all, the quality of Polish Vodka does not compare to anything else in the world. Here is a handful of interesting and, hopefully, surprising facts about our national beverage!
1. A brand of vodka that uses a protected geographical indication and fits the definition of “Polish Vodka” has a label “Polska Wódka / Polish VODKA” attached to the bottle and may additionally have a mark of quality given by the Polish Vodka Association.
Based on the amended Act on the production of spirits, the Polish Vodka Association has created a non-compulsory program “Polish Vodka”, for which they came up with a series of verbal and graphic designations. These designations can be placed on products that meet the criteria of the Act, that is, they are produced in Poland and from traditionally Polish grains: rye, wheat, triticale, oats, barley or potatoes.
Only the Polish Vodka Association is authorised to grant the “Polska Wódka / Polish Vodka” program designations.
The program is the first such initiative and its goal is to build awareness and increase the significance of the geographical indication “Polska Wódka / Polish Vodka”. The program was launched in January 2013.
2. The Rolling Stones performed in Warsaw in exchange for a wagon of Polish vodka.
The memorable concert took place 50 years ago and since then, has managed to produce a number of myths and not necessarily true anecdotes. For this reason, many sceptics claim that the wagon story is merely an urban legend. However, numerous people involved in organising the concert confirm the story’s authenticity. Unfortunately, the members of the band did not manage to consume their “pay”, as the wagon was returned to Poland by the British border guards.
3. Polish vodka was served on board during the first flight of the Concorde.
It occurred in 1976, when the quality of vodka from Poland was already appreciated around the globe. Wyborowa was one of the most popular brands of vodka at the time. Its prestige grew relatively quickly and among its enthusiasts were famous artists and high-level officials. It was Wyborowa that was served on board of the then state-of-the-art supersonic passenger airplane Concorde during its inaugural flight.
4. According to estimations of the Polish Vodka Association, only about 15 percent of vodka produced in Poland deserves the name “Polish Vodka”.
In 2016, a total of 98.2 million litres of vodka (on 100% alcohol basis) were produced in Poland. Poland is the leading producer of vodka in the European Union. On a global scale, we rank fourth, preceded only by Russia, the United States and Ukraine. Only 15% of those productions meet the requirements to carry the label “Polish Vodka”.Let us remind you that the definition has been in force since 2013. It can be found in its entirety in the Act on the production of spirit drinks and the registration and protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks. According to these regulations, alcohol that can be labelled as Polish Vodka has to be made from one of the five grains (rye, wheat, triticale, oats, barley) or potatoes grown in Poland, and the entire process of its production has to take place in our country, apart from bottling.
5. Currently, there are around 100 distilleries operating in Poland which produce agricultural distillates.
One of the characteristics of the vodka production process in Poland is its division into two stages. The first stage takes place in small, local farm distilleries, where agricultural distillate is produced.
In the second stage, the spirit goes to a distillation and rectification plant, where its rectification takes place, as well as the process of mixing the spirit with water and the final purification of vodka. If all those stages of vodka production take place in Poland and the alcohol is made from Polish raw materials, only then can we call it Polish Vodka.