Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has provided details from his 24-hour trip to Yerevan, Armenia, during which he managed to enjoy the sunrise, meet some very interesting people and lay the foundation of his new brand, Shakmat brandy.
Ohanian has tapped into his Armenian heritage to bring to the American spirits market Armenian brandy, known as konyak in Armenia. Launched in collaboration with Flaviar, a direct-to-consumer spirits club with whom the entrepreneur had initially invested in via Y Combinator, the brandy is appropriately named Shakmat, the Armenian word for chess which is one of the country's most beloved traditions.
"It was a whirlwind! We landed before sunrise, ran out and caught a glimpse of the sun rising, and then proceeded to tour Yerevan, making stops at haunts from when I was living there and visiting different distilleries where we did final tastings. The Flaviar team did the legwork ahead of time (i.e. sorting grapes, picking the different juices, etc.), so we just did the final tastings and then feasted on a traditional Armenian dinner," the Initialized Capital co-founder said, according to Forbes.
"I also bought a few carpets to ship back to the US, and got together at one of the local bars with a bunch of different people who made the project possible. Another highlight of the trip was meeting the Prime Minister. It was a really exciting meeting and there is an optimism you can feel throughout the country because of the work he’s done and will continue to do to help Armenia thrive, reduce corruption and prosper. It’s exciting because Armenians have thrived all over the world and it’s only appropriate that the motherland thrives too. It’s absolutely a new chapter in the country’s history."