How merchants Shustov advertised their brandy

In 1863, the merchant Nikolai Leontievich Shustov decided to start producing alcoholic beverages and founded the company “N. Shustov and Sons ”. Production began in Moscow on Maroseyka in a small building. I must say that at that time there were enough alcohol producers in Russia, so it was not at all easy to break into the market.

Despite all the efforts, Shustov alcohol did not become popular in Russia at once. But Nikolai Leontyevich, and later his sons Nikolai and Vasily showed ingenuity, coming up with a variety of ways to advertise their brandy.

Trusted people went to all parts of the country who visited restaurants and demanded Shustov's cognac. The owners of the establishments shrugged their shoulders in surprise, as they had never even heard of such a thing. Then the client got up indignantly and left. Soon the demand for Shustov's cognac grew noticeably, as restaurants did not want to lose their customers.

In 1900, the Shustovs anonymously sent their drink to the World Exhibition in Paris. The jury appreciated the taste of the Shustov brandy, but it turned out that it was not made in France, and therefore could not be called brandy, since at that time only alcohol produced in France could bear such a name. But the jury decided to make an exception for the Shustovs and write “cognac” and not “brandy” on the bottles.

The Shustovs did not skimp on advertising: trams with posters "Shustov's Cognac" rode around Moscow, poems and anecdotes about him were published in the newspapers, even in theaters the actors mentioned "Shustov" during the performance, although this was not in the script.

But the most daring advertising was undertaken in 1912 by Nikolai Nikolaevich Shustov, who after the death of his father became the head of the company. For a huge bribe, he managed to get an invitation to Easter at the Imperial Palace. As soon as the emperor appeared in the hall, Nikolai Nikolaevich, violating all the rules of the ceremony, rushed to him with a tray on which there was a glass of cognac.

All those present froze in horror, no one expected such impudence from the merchant. Even the tsar himself hesitated for a second, but quickly got his bearings, calmly took the treat, drank it with pleasure and ate it with a lemon slice. Smiling, the emperor said: "Wonderful brandy, gentlemen, I recommend!" It was impossible to think of a better advertisement for the Shustovs. It is not surprising that soon "Shustov's Cognac" was officially supplied to the court of His Imperial Majesty.

By 1914, Shustov controlled 30% of alcohol production in the Russian Empire and 44% of alcohol exports. The total turnover of the cognac factories alone was more than 2 million rubles in silver per year.

It is interesting that when, with the revolution of 1917, the cognac factories were nationalized, Nikolai Nikolaevich Shustov did not survive this and died in the same year. And his children, brothers Sergei and Pavel Shustov, did not go abroad, but remained at home. Sergei Nikolaevich Shustov worked in the Tsentrosoyuz, and Pavel Nikolaevich Shustov in 1927 published the book "Grape Wines, Cognacs, Vodka and Mineral Waters."