Russian Kvas – Origin and History

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What is Russian Kvas?

The first time I tasted Kvas (Квас) was in 2008 when I visited Russia for the first time. I can describe it best by saying that it is a fizzy, brown, non-alcoholic drink that is made from bread. This I didn’t know at the time.

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One of the better Kvas on the market.

[dropcap bg=”#2da5da” color=”#ffffff”]A[/dropcap]ndrey often mentions Kvas and how much he misses it. I remembered the taste very well but it took some time to get used to. I was not surprised at all when his family asked if we wanted Kvac with our meal. Russians in general do not like to drink Coca-Cola and Kvas is the preferred drink.

I have mentioned previously that I did not know that it was made from bread. Kvac is a fermented beverage made from stale dark, sour dough rye bread. I decided to read more about this very popular drink. The information was astounding.

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This is what it looks like.

Kvac origin and interesting facts.

Kvac originated before beer! Yes, it was first made 50 centuries ago…unbelievable! Kvas was first mentioned in the Russian Chronicles (Russia’s oldest known written text) in 989 when Prince Vladimir converted his subjects to Christianity. He was quoted saying:”Food, honey, and Kvac be distributed to the people.”

Some say the drink was invented by mistake. According to one legend, a bag of grain got wet and the grain started to grow. A farmer decided to save the product and make flour out of it. He couldn’t use it to make bread and instead, invented malt. He added some water, let the liquid ferment and created the first ever kvas.

Kvac has a lot of nutritional properties, full of Vitamin B, a good appetizer and a healthy source of energy. It is a very popular drink among sportsmen and woman. It is a national drink enjoyed by many people and considered to be just as popular as Vodka.

[column size=”1-2″ last=”1″]

Health Benefits of Kvas.

[list icon=”moon-checkbox” color=”#027a22″]Enhance your immune system.[/list]
[list icon=”moon-checkbox” color=”#027a22″]Prevent infections after surgery.[/list]
[list icon=”moon-checkbox” color=”#027a22″]Treat acute and chronic diarrhea.[/list]
[list icon=”moon-checkbox” color=”#027a22″]Relieve inflammatory bowel disease.[/list]
[list icon=”moon-checkbox” color=”#027a22″]Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).[/list]
[list icon=”moon-checkbox” color=”#027a22″]Protect against cancer development and progression.[/list]

While we were driving in the bus one afternoon I saw a huge metal container with Квас written on it. I asked Andrey what it was doing there and he said that normal. Street vendors sell Kvas from a tap – bring your bottle and fill up.

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A tank filled with Kvac where you can refill your bottle.

There are many different products on the market and not all of them taste the same. It is very easy to spot a not so good Kvas – taste it! Also very important: Traditional Kvas has a shelf live of a week at room temperature and 3 weeks in the fridge. If you can keep it for longer in the fridge then it is not traditional Russian Kvas and preservatives had been added.

For now we are enjoying Kvas with our meals…we will not be able to find it when we are back in Argentina.

If you want to read more about similar posts click here Typical Russian Food

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.


    1. Hi Martha, different but nice. I am not sure if you can find it in the U.S. but maybe it is available in cities where Russians are staying but I am guessing here. Have a blessed day!

    1. Thank you Irene, glad you enjoyed the story. I am not sure about the Philippines..I wish I could post a bottle of Kvas for you to taste 😉 Thanks for the visit.

  1. It was really interesting. I never tried kvas myself but I heard quite a lot about it, considering the Soviet influence is still huge where I live. Maybe after reading this article I will drink some kvas. haha

    1. Hi, glad you liked it! Oh you should give it a try..just for the sake of trying. Who knows you might even like it! It took me a while to get used to it but now I like it a lot. Please let me know what you think of Kvas and if you don`t mind I will include a paragraph in this post 😉

  2. Sounds like something I might enjoy. Especially the non-alcoholic part, I really need something besides Coke….I do drink water too!

    1. Hi Jan, I have never tasted non-alcoholic beer but I think it must taste similar to Kvas. You don`t see a lot of people here drinking Coke but I must admit I have been dying for a glass myself 😉 I am so guilty too..I don`t drink enough water!

  3. Hmmm… wow, I’ve never tasted this and I’m not sure if I would LOL. It’s interesting that it’s made of bread. And I liked the info you shared on how it was invented 🙂

    It’s good to know that it has health benefits too 🙂

  4. Dear Nelieta,
    This sounds a lot like a malt drink, which I don’t really like, but my wife loves. Fascinating information. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog. I just came back from Russia and I loved the 3 months there.What an amazing country,people and culture. I will visit your blog again once I am settled. Ps. I am so going to miss Kvas!

  5. I love Kvas! Tried it in a Moscow restaurant called Na-Melnitse and enjoyed its taste almost immediately! I wish they sold these in the Philippines cuz I’d so buy it!

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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