The Spiliopoulos’s home base of Patras was historically on of the richest and most cosmopolitan Greek cities with thriving industries and one of the largest trading ports in the Mediterranean. Until the beginning of the 20th century raisins and grapes were Greece’s main export in order to quench an increasing demand from Europe, especially from French wine producers. In fact the collapse of the raisin trade triggered Greece’s first bankruptcy causing a tide of immigration to the United States in the first two decades of the twentieth century.
This more than century-old Greek family distillery produces VODKA 40 41 and Bluebay Gin which are shaped by its excellence in alcohol production and distillation
Both Vodka 40 41 and its companion spirit Bluebay Gin debuted in the Greek market in 2014. They are produced by the Spiliopoulos family.
I met George Spiliopoulos, the fourth generation of this family of distillers, in the sun-drenched and luscious gardens of the fabled, turreted mansion house built in Andros around 1910, which belongs to his in-laws. He displays a quiet determination yet a winning diffidence when discussing a business founded by his great grandfather in 1895 located just outside the city of Patras. The company has diversified interests producing alcohol for agricultural and industrial uses, distillates such as ouzo, as well as those used in branded spirits for other companies. They also produce wines.
The blue and red label of 40 41 introduces a vintage feeling while Bluebay Gin has a more pictorial feel. 40 41’s velvety texture is infused with aromas of honey, vanilla and jasmine. It is named for the two final distillation columns in a row of six which were designed exclusively for this product. Bluebay’s name is a dedication to the cerulean sea and sky of Greece.
George had long wanted to produce these spirits as he felt it was a natural progression for his distillery. However up until 2014, marketing advisors warned him that the Greek market was not ready for a local spirit. Fortunately this changed and George’s next challenge is to create a brandy.
The quality of 40 41 derives from the artistry of its distillation of its grain content as does Bluebay Gin, where the factory distills the primary alcoholic product, then carefully adds chosen botanicals such as juniper, Angelica, bergamot and locally grown oranges and lemons in order to create the product from start to finish
George studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics and after a brief stint in finance, he decided to return to Greece in 2003 and take on his family business. Its originator Basil Spiliopoulos had great financial success in the raisin trade which led him to create a distillery whose original product was soumada, an opalescent non alcoholic beverage derived from almonds which is still traditionally offered at weddings on many Greek islands. The factory then went on to develop a range of distillations and despite the hardships endured during World War II, George’s grandfather, also named George, not only restored it but vigorously modernized it.
In the 1960’s the sugar industry initiated in Greece and access to alcohol’s raw ingredient was facilitated. This propelled the business forward even further and by 1962 the family produced 10% of all Greek alcohol. The enterprise developed its product into pharmaceutical and other uses and ventured into wine production specializing in mavrodafni, a sweet wine from the region.
The quality of 40 41 derives from the artistry of its distillation of its grain content as does Bluebay Gin where the factory distills the primary alcoholic product, then carefully adds chosen botanicals such as juniper, Angelica, bergamot and locally grown oranges and lemons in order to create the product from start to finish.
The Spiliopoulos’s home base of Patras was historically on of the richest and most cosmopolitan Greek cities with thriving industries and one of the largest trading ports in the Mediterranean