A World without Pepsi, Coca Cola, and Fanta


Russia’s Famous Elixir

There is a drink in Russia that has no equal. This elixir is made by natural fermentation of bread, such as wheat, rye, or barley, and sometimes flavored using fruit, berries, raisins, or birch sap collected in the early spring. It has a very distinctive sour taste that helps prevent infections and keep the heart and circulatory system healthy. This beverage simply makes one feel better as it has lots of vitamins, free amino acids, micro elements and lactic acid. Up until 1985 this was the most popular drink in all of Russia. So what is this wonder drink? It’s Kvas!

Vassiliy Kalistov, Kvass Selling (1862), oil on canvas.

Russia’s Native Drink

Kvas has been a common drink in Eastern Europe since at least the Middle Ages, comparable with other ancient fermented grain beverages including beer brewed from barley by the ancient Egyptians, the pombe or millet beer of Africa, the so-called rice wines of Asia, the chicha made with corn or cassava by the natives of America. It is generally accepted that the history of Kvas began in the 10th century. Kvas was invented by the Slavs and became the most popular among East Slavs.The poorest of Slavic families in the 10th century used Kvas as the basis of almost all the dishes they consumed.


“Give food, honey and Kvas to the people”

In Rus the first written mentioning of Kvas was in 989 when Vladimir ordered: ‘Give food, honey and Kvas to the people” during the christianization of the people. Some sources state that Kvas spread to other Slavic nations as early as 988, after the Christianization of the Kievan Rus’. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the first mention of Kvas took place sometime around 1553. In Russia, under Peter the Great, it was the most common non-alcoholic drink in every class of society. In 1799 William Tooke, described Russian drinking habits as follows: “The most common domestic drink is quas, a liquor prepared from pollard, meal, and bread, or from meal and malt, by an acid fermentation. It is cooling and well-tasting.”


A World without Pepsi, Coca Cola, and Fanta

The average Russian could not live without Kvas, it been a part of the Russian culture for centuries. Kvas was drank during work, after work, even before and after meals. Kvas was considered an essential daily beverage. Looking back 20 years ago people would surround the Kvas barrel with cups, cans, or anything else that would hold the beverage. It was a common sight seeing these stands dotted across many Russian cities landscapes.  It’s was and still is a thirst quenching beverage that is drank both by solid men and housewives solving the problem of dinner and supper with Kvas okroshka (popular Russian soup). This was a time when children of all ages loved Kvas, it was easily purchased for 3 kopecks. Previous to 1985, Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Pepsi were just not found in Russia.


Kvas increases appetite and has high energetic value. Taste of Kvas impressed the foreigners visiting Russia. Here are the words of Casanova on Kvas: “They have an excellent beverage… it is much much better than Constantinopolitan sherbet. It is easy, tasteful, and is a nutritive beverage and is very cheap.” Even today the price of Kvas is relatively inexpensive. It is not just by mere a chance that many Western European countries are interested in Russian Kvas recipes. In the international competition held in 1975 in Yugoslavia Russian Kvas (from Moscow) got 18 points, and famous coca-cola got only 9.8 points. It’s a drink not just of great taste by truly has no equal.



21 thoughts on “A World without Pepsi, Coca Cola, and Fanta

  1. Sorry I didn’t have a chance to try Kvas. You aren’t missing anything with the Pepsi, Coke or Fanta. They are just a bunch of expensive sugar water.

    1. Technically Coke and Pepsi are not even sugar waters, but High Fructose Corn Syrop water what is MUCH worse.

  2. Literally Kvas is very low-alcohol beverage. It contains appr. 1-2° of alcohol – the same as another russian drinks (however dairy ones) – Kefir, Ayran etc.
    The best one was and still is in those yellow Kvas barrels.

    Unfortunately today appeared a lot of pseudo-Kvas in supermarkets, packed in the same bottles as various soda beverages.
    80% of such pseudo-Kvas have nothing common with real Kvas. Usually it is chemical compound with pretty distantly akin Kvas taste.
    Damn westernisation…. but good one is still exist- thx God.

    Another good alternatives to Coke\Pepsi chem-cocktails are Baikal, Tarkhun, Sitro, Vostok etc.

    But again not any Baikal, Tarkhun, Sitro are good. Exist nice producers and crap ones.
    Pretty good for example might be considered Napitki iz Chernogolovki. Their sodas are all natural.
    For example Baikal’s ingredients: after carbonated water and sugar, we have “taiga root and tea extracts”.
    I personaly prefer Herbal ones – Baikal and Tarkhun.

    Exist another good produces too. Chernogolovka is not the only one.

    Vostok is also nice beveradge.

    1. I’ve tried Baikal, I really liked it. The problem is I have a hard time finding it. The others I haven’t tried. Would like to though. But I’m not sure that I have even seen them or know what the label looks like, oh well. Soon or later I’ll come across them. Thanks for the input.

      1. Armenian Soda Drinks are also pretty nice and natural\organic.
        Georgian are also good often , but since Armenia now in Eurasion Union so it will easier to find armenian ones than georgian.
        I’m sure that Kazakhstan also have a lot of really nice natural drinks (as well as sodas as dairy ones)…just dunno if they are available all around in Russia.

      2. About Kvas: i’ve remembered one pretty nice:
        “Buket Chuvashii”

        Also forget to mention few other tradional drinks except Kefir and Ayran.
        Pretty tasty but rare are also Кумыс (Kumys) and Сузьма (Suz’ma).
        These ones are also traditional in Kazakhstan and MiddleAsia.

      3. And ppl, be careful and don’t be fooled with this piece of crap:

        This pseudo-Kvas brand “Kruzhka i Bochka” is manufactured by Coca-Cola so you can be sure that it has nothing common with real Kvas and is probably utter chemical shit.

        Coca-Cola and Pepsi ( Sandora ) turn into comlete crap any product line or trademark or factory they buy, incuding juices.
        In Ukraine existed a lot of nice soviets created NATURAL juice produces -all juices were produced only in glass.
        70% of them are now sold to Coca-Cola or Sandora (Pepsi’s subsidiary). And now all of them produce some crap powder juices(restored) in the best case or sugar powder mix (what they call “Nectar” by very small print at the back) – in the worst case.

  3. Well, I enjoy my Pepsi. I have found that water has no taste, and more often than not, makes me thirsty again much quicker than soda.
    I wouldn’t mind trying at least a taste of the Russian Kvas, but think it would depend on the main ingredient.
    Bread, yes. Beets, uh, no.
    As for the poison, everything either is or is coated with poison. Different makeups and called multiple names. Even the air is poisoned, and everyone is still breathing it.

    — John
    *Please be reminded these are my opinions, and no matter any rebuttal, will remain; just like yours. I can respect that, can you?*

    1. RE:[*Please be reminded these are my opinions, and no matter any rebuttal, will remain; just like yours. I can respect that, can you?*]

      Anyone may have their opnion. All know that smoking or strong alcohol are very harmful. But still people smoke and drink b\c they like it.
      And exactly “liking” is the only one real argument in such case and nothing else.

      But you here appeal to some pretty doubtful issues:

      RE:[As for the poison, everything either is or is coated with poison. Different makeups and called multiple names. Even the air is poisoned, and everyone is still breathing it.]

      I dunno where do you live, but here not everything is poison or coated with it. Also even in case if something contain some preservative it is still matters if the preservative is the only one unhealthy component in the product or there are 10 addtional harmful chemical substances except preservative.

      At least in Russia air is not very poisoned in big west europenian part citites and not poisoned at all on 98% of its territory.
      Afterall Russia, Canada and South America are the lungs of the planet -there are the bigest forest reservs in the world on these territories. Even cities in Russia are usually pretty green.

      Anyway i respect you choise. The same as i respect smokers or ppl who like strong alcohol even if i refuse these things.

      1. Well said!

        By the way, I live in the US. Raised in Central Texas, now in Mississippi. Air quality is not bad here or there, I think, but larger cities like New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and such have regulations on idling your car engine, as well as other regulations involving carcinogens. The Government keeps talking laws to slow what it’s already set in motion, climate-wise, but I think the damage is done.
        Sad, but many Americans, or at least enough of them, just don’t care. As long as what they need is available, at least once, they can continue to satisfy themselves.

      2. I don’t think that any kind of regulations will be successful, b\c you can’t cultivate the habit to walk a lot instead of driving by car to the nearest walmart just after the turn, or love to nature\trees(conifers, orchards) all around in the city instead of concrete rat labyrinths or banal lawns all around. Also such regulations will not create satisfactory public transport system.

        Just the same way as you can’t substitute by law or fear the natural feel of justice, society or spiritual values and especially moral.

        RE:[Sad, but many Americans, or at least enough of them, just don’t care. As long as what they need is available, at least once, they can continue to satisfy themselves.]

        Let alone the situations when they feel the money or benefit. 😉

      3. This is a very interesting comment. What provoke this type of response? The US is a land of regulations and laws which everyone must foollow (emphasis added on purpose). They have completely forgotten the spirit of the law. Which is how things are done here (slava bogo). Interested to hear.

  4. Have found some interesting soviet style thing:

    “Chemistry or Life?”

    “Not a single drop!”

    “Way to degeneration”

    “Dealer is the worst enemy!”

    “The sad end”


    “Enemy of the mind”

    “Sin we’ve not seen!”

    “Together we’ll overcome!”

  5. The same time The Yale University (The light\torch of truth and freedom 😀 ) reports [February 3, 2015] :
    Kenyan anti-corruption activist to deliver the Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale lecture

    John Githongo, one of Kenya’s most prominent anti-corruption activists and CEO of INUKA Ni Sisi!, an NGO that does work on citizen empowerment and good governance, will give the annual Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale Lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

    Titled “Corruption, Security, and Development: Volatile Nexus,” the talk will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave. The lecture is sponsored by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale Law School, and the Yale School of Management. The event is free and open to the public.

    Githongo is also chair of the Africa Institute for Governing with Integrity; a board member of the Africa Center for Open Governance; and a commissioner of the Independent Commission on Aid Impact of the British government.

    From 2003 to 2004, Githongo served as permanent secretary for governance and ethics in the post-transition government of Kenya’s third president, Mwai Kibaki. However, he began to expose corruption within the administration that appointed him (phaha-ha-ha 🙂 oh srorry.. ). Fearing for his safety, he fled Kenya and spent time in Britain. He returned to Kenya in 2008. His story is told in Michela Wrong’s book “It’s Our Turn to Eat.”

    In 2011, Githongo was selected as one of the world’s 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine and one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. He has been a correspondent for the Economist. (omg.. muhaha-ha-ha 😀 oh srorry.. )

    The Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale was established in 1992 to support intersecting endeavors among specialists in international relations, international law, and the management of international enterprises and organizations. (ehe-he-he… cmon stop it.. my stomach hurts already 😀 .. ) Previous lecturers in the series have included Michael Doyle, Gary Hart, Tom Friedman, Nicholas Kristof, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Sam Nunn, Sadako Ogata, Samantha Power, Mary Robinson, Raghuram Rajan, Eboo Patel, Mo Ibrahim, Marwan Muasher, and Raila Odinga.

    Yeah… such kind of comedy is even better than any kind of Stand-Up 😉 Gosh… 😛 Do you feel it? Feel that warm viscid brown thing trickle down you head? lol 😀

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