After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks confiscated all private distilleries in Moscow. As a result, a number of Russian vodka-makers emigrated, taking their skills and recipes with them. One such exile, Vladimir Smirnov, revived his brand in Paris, using the French version of his family name - Smirnoff. Smirnov later sold his family recipe to another Russian emigrant, Rudolph Kunett, who set up the first vodka distillery in the USA in 1934. Of course it didn't get really exciting until Smirnoff sponsored my Vodka Cookbook in 2005.