By Leman Mammadova
Pomegranate juice and pomegranate concentrate hold main share in Az-Granata LLC's export, which are exported to more than 20 countries of the world, Deputy Director of Az-Granata LLC Vugar Mikayilov told Azernews.
“Since 2018 pomegranate wines, grape wines, vodka, cognacs and fruit vodka are exported mainly to Ukraine, Russia, Baltic states, Japan, China and Germany. The results of ProdExpo Food Fair held in Moscow in 2019 allow us to double our export portfolio this year,” he noted.
Mikayilov went on to say that the pomegranate wine produced in Azerbaijan will become an Azerbaijani brand in the near future as it differs from the pomegranate wines produced by other countries in taste and aroma.
The deputy director mentioned the achievements of the company for the last seven years.
“Although Azerbaijan's national beverage Abgor (Black Sea) has more than 1,000 years of history, it has been first produced in the industry by Az-Granata,” he said.
“For the first time in our country, whiskey production has been achieved on the basis of Scottish technology. It is gratifying that some of our consumers in the domestic market are foreign guests coming to our country. Today, our whiskey storage container has a large number of oak vessels of 500 liters each, and we have 5-6- and 7-year whiskey in these tubs,” Mikayilov added.
Mulberry and cranberry vodka, our high quality national drink, was produced on the basis of new technologies, the deputy director noted.
“For the first time in Azerbaijan, the production of "Turkish Raki" was achieved. This is confirmed by Mrs. Filiz Shenler, who has a tasting experience of 30 years in Turkey, after tasting the raki produced by Az-Granata. Not only in Azerbaijan, but for the first time in the world we started producing vodka by a completely new technology. And, soon our vodka not only left behind many foreign vodka, but also overcame them. As a result, demand for foreign vodka in the country dropped by more than 30 percent. This has somehow prevented certain currency flows to foreign countries,” he said.
Mikayilov went on to add that Az-Granata used a method of extracting toxic substances from "vodka" by using fresh goat milk in its production.
“This technology belongs only to us in the world. Honestly, milk processing currently exists, but they are processed with dry, lean milk, so that dry milk also reduces the quality of the product due to denaturation,” he said.
Our vodka is left to infuse for 7 - 14 and 28 days and then it is offered for sale, Mikayilov added.
The Az-Granata uses 20 tones of natural honey a year for the production of Vodka, deputy director said.
Moreover, he noted that Az-Granata produced and sold collection wine for the first time in Azerbaijan.
“It's about 30-year-old Mil dessert wine. As we know, desert wines are selected from high quality grapes by special methods. "Mil" white dessert wines, built in Ganja by the Hummel brothers in the 19th century and stored in the underground wine store in the 30-year-old oak barrels, were packed by cold means in the Az-Granata plant,” he said.
Speaking of one more innovation of Az-Granata, Mikayilov underlined that the company could produce a zero percent wine, that is, non-alcoholic wine in three varieties.
“For many, this was not convincing, but we did it. Thus, this wine is taken as a result of the use of alcohol in the vacuum apparatus. Resveratrol, polyflavanols and a number of complex ingredients in the non-alcoholic wine contain powerful antioxidant properties. This significantly reduces the risk of serious illnesses such as cancer, and prevents radioactive radiation in the body,” he added.
In this regard, he noted the importance of non-alcoholic wine for the human body since it helps to get rid of excess weight by drinking 150 milliliters of wine every day.
Mikayilov also added that, Az-Granata introduced Feijoa fruit juice into the market for the first time in our country.
There are many kompots that we offer for sale in domestic and foreign markets, so far, in our country, there has never been kompot production in Tetra Pak packaging, he added.
"What's more pleasant is that we have already exported juice to European countries that made in the aseptic vats of our company. It should be noted that there are only two enterprises with aseptic vats in our country, one of which is Az-Granata. We have obtained a concentrate by bringing the most up-to-date vacuum unit made in Germany, so that we delivered the concentrate to several foreign countries," deputy director underlined.
Speaking about the role of Az-Granata in promotion of Azerbaijani products in foreign markets, he said that at present, Az-Granata products are exported to 27 countries in the world - Russia, U.S. Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, UAE, Malaysia, Japan, China, Bahrain, Israel, Australia and etc.
“We have entered to Russian and Ukrainian markets with 18 types of alcoholic beverages and various juices,” he added.
Our participation in the wine tasting competition held in 2018 in Shanghai, China, resulted in two medals. Thus, Rubai wine, one of the branded wines of our company, won the bronze medal, and the Kehreba wine was awarded silver medal, highlighted deputy director.
Mikayilov pointed out that the greatest demand is for the production of pomegranate juices and wines. Basically, the demand for these products is evident in foreign markets.
“We fully use our ability to find new customers and satisfy the wishes of our existing customers. Export missions, business forums and exhibitions organized by the Ministry of Economy help us to reach more customer markets,” he said.
Touching upon the situation of orchards in Azerbaijan he noted that there were 160,000 hectares of vineyards in Azerbaijan in the Soviet era and less than 10,000 hectares remained in 2000s. Only since 2006-2007, as a result of the establishment of new vineyards and the continuation of this process, vineyards have reached 17,500 hectares, 500 hectares of which belong to Az-Granata LLC.
In addition, for the liqueur and fruit vodka production Az-Granata established 10 hectares and 5 hectares of orchards, respectively, in 2017.
Mikayilov also noted that 100 hectares of 400 hectares of pomegranate orchards, laid in the Agsu region by our company have been granted Bio Certification by German Lacon GmbH.
Pomegranate varieties such as Bala Mursel, Gulovsha, Firuzeyi, Donuz Burnu and Veles are grown in our pomegranate orchards, Mikayilov stressed.
“In my opinion, there is a need to establish 10,000 - 15,000 hectares of technical vineyards of the aboriginal varieties, since there are fewer varieties of them in Azerbaijan,” he concluded.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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