narrative: Charis Vekris
photography: Eleftheria Papadopoulou
photo editing: Michalis Richter

Guess! How many ouzo brands feature a number on their label? One? Two, max? Wrong guess! A quick search through the collection of shows a respectable number of distilleries using as part of their brand name on their label numbers whose gamut is reminiscent of lottery games: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 38, 42, 62. All distillers have each a story of their own to spin about what drove their dads or grandpas to giving their ouzo a number for a name. More often than not, that number becomes the favourite with patrons of cafés and ouzo places in the area around the pot stills where that ouzo is distilled. What is more, there’s a handful of ouzo brands whose number on their labels is instantly recognisable even outside Greece’s borders.

“Thrakiotiko 7” [Ouzo 7 from Thrace] is one of them. It has fought the good fight and has successfully earned a place in the markets of the largest cities in Europe, Asia, the US, and even Australia. Without sparing a moment to rest on its laurels and in spite of our times’ negative psychology, the Distillery-Winery of Thrace moves on with verve and a playful attitude to prove to all and sundry that there is “7 Galore” (“Efta yparhoun” in Greek)! The motto is actually inspired by the infamous statement “there’s money galore,” made by former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou. Since “lefta” [money] and “efta” [seven] sound almost the same in Greek, “Lefta yparhoun” was turned into “Efta yparhoun” and became the ouzo’s slogan. Proof positive of that are the snapshots taken during the “2016 Bike Tour” organised by the company as of June and posted on the titular page on facebook. Eleftheria Papadopoulou, who works at the company’s sales department and is responsible for that page’s management, talked to us about the fantastic ideas born of and for ouzo:

What exactly is the “2016 Bike Tour” by the Distillery-Winery of Thrace?
It is an original idea that the sales department came up with a view to tightening the company’s bond with its partners. Despite its high turnover rate, the Distiller-Winery of Thrace S.A. tries to keep a low profile which is why its partners feel so close to the company. That is also due to the fact that company focus is steadily on each and every partner and not on the turnover rate figures resulting from their collaboration. It is precisely that close relationship that the bike tour wishes to highlight, true to the view that “friends can still make history in a Greece under crisis”.

So, is that also the concept behind the “7 Galore” page on facebook?
The concept behind “7 Galore” is to promote in a humorous way “7” as a drink, together with the places where you can find it, and food contests with “7” as their theme. It’s our way of showcasing and celebrating our partners who are hard workers, struggle to succeed in the business with dignity, all the while offering other people as well job opportunities and an outlet for creative expression.

You’ve got to admit that, if nothing else, the bike tour was an excellent opportunity for you to combine “work and fun”.
Absolutely! This bike tour, with its stops at various shops and tavernas, all the biking uphill and downhill, be it in hot or cold weather, was something we really enjoyed: it helped us appreciate the immediacy of human contact, living in the moment, great times in the company of friends, endless ouzo rounds, and lots and lots of mezé appetizers.

How about your own biking route? What’s the route you’ve followed so far? What are the scheduled stops you intend to make in the foreseeable future?
The 1st bike tour centred in the areas around the Strymonic Gulf: Asprovalta, Vrasna, Stavros, and Olympiada. The 2nd one included the first “finger” of Halkidiki: Polyhrono, Pefkohori, and Loutra in Aghia Paraskevi. Our next destination? Thessaloniki! And guess what? It’s purely coincidental, but the distillery’s branch which has been operating in the area since 1983, is based in Eptapyrgio, meaning Fortress of 7 Towers in Greek!

By the way, tell us how you decided on naming your ouzo “7” and, then, give us a few words about the company you’re working for.
As far as I know, when the company was founded, they decided on “7” as a good name because they thought of the number as a lucky one. Distillery-Winery of Thrace S.A. is one of the largest distilleries in Greece. It produces over 9,000,000, bottles of ouzo/year in 700ml packaging. Out of that production, 87% is sold outside Greece to countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Esthonia, Iraq, Israel, the US, Australia, and many more. Company facilities are in the Industrial Zone of Komotini, on a privately-owned plot covering 15,000 sq m with the buildings occupying 5,000 sq m of it. The company employs 75 people and is certified under the latest in state-of-the-art quality systems (ISO 22000, IFS – International Food Standards).

Distillery-Winery of Thrace S.A.
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