A. Le Coq

1912 ‒ A. Le Coq moves to Tartu


The high customs duties imposed by Russia and the increasingly frequent forgery of the reputable A. Le Coq trademark forced A. Le Coq & Co. (Russia) Ltd., which had been changed into a private limited company in 1904, to move its headquarters and in 1906 also the bottling plant from London to St. Petersburg.

In 1912, A. Le Coq Ltd. was chosen as the official supplier of the Russian emperor’s court. The owners of A. Le Coq looked for a brewery suitable for the production of imperial stout in Russia and selected Tivoli Ltd. in Tartu. After water analyses were approved, H. O. Sillem bought all company shares in March 1912. On May 16 the same year, public limited company A. Le Coq Ltd. was established in London for development of the company and the company in Tartu operated as its Russian subsidiary.

Before World War I, a new stout department was built for the brewery that was managed by a brewer hired from England. A. Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout now came with a label saying “Brewed in Dorpat” and travelled by railway to consumers in the furthest corners of the empire – to Poland, Siberia and the Far East.

The impressive success was cut short by the prohibition on selling alcohol in Russia in 1914 due to the break out of World War I. In 1917, the brewery on Tähtvere Hill was vandalized by anarchist Russian soldiers and in 1918, the armed forces of the German Empire plundered the remaining equipment.

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