ARMENIAN BRANDY BREAKS INTO ASIAN MARKETS
More brandy than molybdenum or gold is exported from Armenia. The volume of brandy exported is surpassed only by copper concentrate, reaching $180 million in 2013. Basically, brandy is Armenia's sole product that has maintained its strategic significance for dozens of years. In Armenia, brandy is exported three times more than wine and two times more than vodka. Nevertheless, brandy has not managed to avoid crises. In 2009, brandy production in Armenia dropped by about 37% — from 16 million to 9.9 million liters. The main reason for this was that several major commercial networks in Russia temporarily suspended payments. Only in 2012 did Armenia succeed in recovering the pre-crisis level of brandy production, while in 2013, brandy production in Armenia reached record levels — 20.3 million liters, almost twice as much as the volumes recorded in the late 1990s. There are 11 companies that produce brandy in Armenia, but none of them hold the dominant position. The largest is Yerevan Brandy Company, the production volumes of which in recent years exceeded 3 million liters. We are indebted mainly to this company for keeping Armenian brandy highly respected. Of the remaining companies, probably Great Valley pays great attention to quality. About 90% of Armenian brandy is exported, and the Russian market is definitely the primary importer (about 80% of total exports). However, the market for Armenian brandy has expanded in recent years, mainly because of markets in Asia. For example, large quantities of cheap brandy are sent to Iraq — about 250,000 liters. In 2013, Armenia succeeded in establishing itself in the United Arab Emirates market, exporting about 4,000 liters of brandy. Major importers of Armenian brandy are Central Asian countries, contributing to significant growth in exports: in first place is Kazakhstan — about 122,000 liters, which exceeded its 2012 volume by 2.5 times. Armenia finally managed to make a breakthrough in the Chinese market, considered the one with the most prospects for brandy. In 2013, China imported more than 100,000 liters of Armenian brandy. In Europe, only Germany is a major importer of Armenian brandy — about 50,000 liters. In 2013, Armenia was able to expand also to the Hungarian and Czech markets. The US steadily imports 40–50,000 liters of Armenian brandy each year. Neighboring Georgia is also a major importer: at 700,000 liters, it is the second largest importer after Russia. Large batches are sent also to the Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic states.