narrative: Haris Vekris
photography: Nireas Vekris
Another island, and a neighbor of Syros at that, makes its appearance on the tsou.gr map flagged with that special symbol of ours that marks it as an ouzo-producing island! Andros! The Andros Distillery, which produces ANDROP Tsipouro, was established in 2018 and is located at Pitrofos, inland on the island. Dimosthenis Varoutis, its 38-year-old owner, is a structural engineer who hails from Andros on the distaff side and who eventually decided to turn his professional attention to distillation. As he told us, “On Andros, homemade tsipouro is a tradition. That’s why my own affinity with distillation begins with my maternal grandfather who made his tsipouro in our family’s traditional pot still”.
After a lot of legwork and paperwork, both arduous tasks when considering Greece’s recession, Dimosthenis, fully supported by his family, succeeded in founding a company with state-of-the-art facilities which fully comply with cutting-edge technology and energy-saving standards. The company owns 8,000 m2 of vineyards, and its ANDROP Tsipouro production nears 6 tons, while the company’s ANDROP Ouzo production amounts to approximately 3.5 tons. Apart from increasing its production, the distillery’s plans for the near future involve the attraction of guests to its facilities for guided tours and distillate-tasting events. Moreover, in order to enhance the enjoyment that guests will derive from their experience, the distillery plans to open a museum space on its premises with displays which narrate the history of distillation on Andros.
ANDROS Distillery is the only distillery in operation on the island of Andros: “Back in the 1990’s, in Chora [Andros’ main town], there used to be Mandarákas located in the lower square who sold distillates he produced himself,” says Dimosthenis. He admits that he has no complaints from the way that Andros shopkeepers and proprietors have been supporting his effort, since “90% of the island’s shops sell our distillery’s products”.
ANDROP Ouzo is what its producer aptly calls an ouzo that is “honest”. Velvety in texture and pleasant in taste, ADNROP Ouzo, a 50% pure distillate, reminded us of the noble character of Chios and its ouzos, since mastic is distinctly present among its aromas. Despite the slump in profits due to the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, distillers retain their optimism and have been intensifying their efforts to promote their products in other regions of Greece beyond their own. If it’s not in your immediate plans to visit the quiet and gorgeous island of Andros, you can find ANDROP ouzo and tsipouro at select appetizer venues in Athens, Heraklion in Crete, as well as on the islands of Kythnos and Ikaria.