text: Charis Vekris
The first edition of tsou.gr was launched back in 2007, when my collection boasted 300 ouzo bottles give or take a few. That first presentation of so many different ouzo labels which up to that time had remained in obscurity was met with high praise, reflected in dozens of comments left by visitors on our website.
Today, thinking back on the sleepless nights I spent trying to improve the content of the site, I recall how hard it had been to try and obtain information on any given distillery or label. Distilleries running their own websites to promote their products were few and far between and there were only a handful of poorly written articles on ouzo posted on news sites and appearing on e-shops which just happened to feature ouzo among the rest of their products. The goal of tsou.gr was to remedy that dearth of information by creating “a website that would showcase all of the country’s distilleries and promote all labels available on the market”.
Today, our goal has been achieved to a great extent: our new website includes a comprehensive list of Greek ouzo producers, with only a handful of labels not being featured in our collection. I would like to extend a warm “thank you” to my relatives and friends for the small bottles they acquired for my collection during their travels. I would also like to extend that heartfelt “thank you” to the distilleries which, along with their congratulations, were kind enough to send me samples of their products.
Today, while parting ways with that first version of the website rendered obsolete by technological progress, it’s worth keeping as a memento a short excerpt from that first version’s introduction: not only is it an introduction that is still relevant today, it also explains why I feel the need to continue my journey in the world of ouzo…
“During my travels, I visited several distilleries and, to my great satisfaction, spoke to distillers across the country, all the way from Kalamata to Alexandroupoli: Most of them were family-run concerns, with the portrait of the founder slash great-grandfather hanging on a conspicuous spot on the wall, with a collection of awards won in international fairs, with invaluable heirlooms dating to the 19th century, time-honored recipes, and well-preserved, traditional pot stills. The people who run them are people who love what they do, who swell with pride when somebody praises their ouzo, who have been keeping a piece of our country’s history alive and well.”