“Gubernija“ Bread Kvass turns 25: find out how much you know about the drink
“Gubernija“ Bread Kvass, which has won popularity in Lithuania and around the world, celebrates its 25th birthday in October – that’s how long it has been fermented and matured in the “Gubernija“ brewery in Šiauliai. On the occasion of the celebration, “Gubernija“ has decided to reveal some interesting facts about Bread Kvass to its most loyal fans – sharing little-known facts about the drink and inviting the fans to test their knowledge.
How the Gubernija Bread Kvass is being made…
1. While most producers leaven their kvass using malt, “Gubernija“ takes a more sophisticated route by using breadcrumbs, which are baked to order in local bakeries.
“In Lithuania, the fermentation of kvass has always been made from home-baked bread, so 25 years ago, “Gubernija“ had the great idea to revive this old tradition by starting to brew beer using old recipes. For the “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass, a recipe created more than a century ago was chosen and revived. It contains only natural ingredients, the most important of which is specially baked breadcrumbs. The recipe for these breadcrumbs was discovered in close cooperation with bakers and is not easy to produce, requiring not only careful selection and measurement of the ingredients, but also special conditions – for example, the breadcrumbs are dried overnight,” says Vaida Narkevičienė, brewer at “Gubernija“.
2. In total, an average of 58 tonnes of breadcrumbs are baked per year at the “Gubernija“ partner bakery. Breadcrumbs for Bread Kvass are rye and wheat breadcrumbs made to special order. When baked correctly, they are oval in shape, light and flavourful.
3. Although the kvass is normally matured for 24 hours, “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass is matured for up to 7 days to achieve a perfect taste.
“Bread Kvass is made in several steps: first, we soak the breadcrumbs, filter the wort, boil it, then ferment it, age it, bottle it and ship it to the shops. Although it may seem that it is possible to make beer at home, experience shows that the best results require not only a deep knowledge and precise work at every stage, but also modern equipment,” says V. Narkevičienė.
How is Bread Kvass doing in Lithuania and worldwide?
4. Approximately 300,000 litres of “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass are exported each year. Today, this unique Lithuanian beverage can be tasted in as many as 15 foreign countries, including exotic countries such as China and Hong Kong.
Currently, about 7% of all “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass produced in Šiauliai is exported to foreign countries, but this figure is growing rapidly – it is planned that by the end of the year the amount of production destined for foreign countries will grow by 20%.
5. “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass is most popular in the USA, the UK, Russia, Poland, Ireland and Ukraine.
“Kvass is a beverage specific to the Central-Eastern European region, so the success of “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass abroad is usually due to one of two reasons: either kvass is a familiar and popular beverage among the local population, or the country in which our kvass can be tasted has a large number of newcomers from Lithuania and other countries in Eastern or Central Europe. However, the more we go on, the more clearly we see the trend that more and more people who do not have European roots are becoming fond of “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass – they are captivated by the drink’s unusual, yet appetizing taste,” says A. Abromavičius, Head of the Sales Development Department of “MV GROUP”.
6. In recent years, “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass has become particularly popular in the USA, with Lithuanian gira being sold in “Publix“, one of the largest retail chains in the USA.
“We are consistently strengthening our position across the Atlantic, so the partnership with Publix is an important step in establishing ourselves in a foreign country. Our Bread Kvass is on the grocery shelves of Florida, the third largest economy and fourth most populous state in the USA. This shows that we have created a world-class product,” says Aurimas Abromavičius.
7. “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass has been particularly popular in Lithuania for many years and is one of the market leaders in terms of sales. Each year, the “Gubernija“ brewery produces around 2.5 million litres of Bread Kvass.
What’s the best way to drink kvass?
8. How do I sip my kvass to get the best taste? V. Narkevičienė suggests taking into account several aspects: the time of year, the glass, the snacks and the environment around us.
“In the summer, it is one of the best drinks to refresh oneself, while hot weather seems to oblige people to drink it cooler. What makes it special is that it brings out its subtle flavours both when it’s cooler and when it’s slightly warmer – there is no one temperature that suits it best. If you like it cold, fine, drink it cold, if you are wary of cold drinks, let it warm up a little. Just remember that when you open a can of Bread Kvass, the carbonation will come out faster if the beer is warm,” says the “Gubernija“ brewer.
9. According to V. Narkevičienė, sipping kvass is in fact suitable for many dishes whose taste does not overpower the drink: the more intensely flavoured the dish, the harder it is to taste the kvass. If you want to taste the kvass, choose milder, less intense flavours: white or fermented cheeses, fish, meat dishes, but it is most delicious with sweeter snacks, such as various biscuits, rolls, cakes or pancakes.
“When drinking, it is better to choose food with a less intense flavour, so that the flavours are evenly distributed on the palate and neither the food nor the drink overpower each other. It is also worth paying attention to the type of “Gubernija” Bread Kvass – for example, wheat will be slightly sweeter, more flavourful and more gourmet. Rye is richer, has a more pronounced bread flavour and is more refreshing,” she advises.
10. Finally, “Gubernija“ Bread Kvass contains only natural ingredients and therefore no preservatives. “The main ingredients are breadcrumbs, water, citric acid and sugar, which is noticeably lower in Bread Kvass compared to most other sweet drinks,” says V. Narkevičienė.