We made a stop in Plomari for a very specific reason…the ouzo museum! The Barvayani factory has been in business for 149 years! The family Bavaryani has owned and run the manufacturing plant and made superb quality ouzo for all those years and is well known on the island of Lesvos and throughout Greece. With the number of international customers climbing you may want to look for Barvayani Ouzo on shelves near you soon.
Check out their website: https://www.barbayanni-ouzo.com/
As we stepped inside the museum we were greeted by a beautiful young lady who explained all the intricate details of the manufacturing equipment used to make ouzo for the past couple hundred years.
She described in great detail the process and the uses of the different types of boiling tanks, cauldrons, and cooling tanks used in the process. We were educated in how the Barvayani family started the first ouzo factory on Lesvos and the subsequesnt years in the business. From making ouzo, to label making, to the bottleing process we saw all the artifacts of the industry from the beginning of the early 1860’s.
We then went downstairs to the factory, the bottling, and packaging areas. What a clean, neat, organized, and ‘happy’ place. We were met by Yannis who gave us a special tour of the facility. He spoke to us in layman’s terms that we would understand regarding the process of making ouzo. The pride in his product was evident in every word. He explained the family business from growing their own cultivation of anise, choosing the right combination of herbs and cereals, and the distillation process right down to the pure spring water used.
We then went to the tasting area and Yannis described the differences in the alcohol content of each strength of ouzo that they make. The green label 42% is the lightest and softest and has a full body and medium anise flavor. The dark blue label is 45% and has a stronger alcohol dimension and more rounded anise flavor. The light blue label has a 47% alcohol content and a stronger anise flavor. The Aphrodite label has a 48% alcohol content and is capable of making any one fall in love! The anise flavor is stronger and rounder. All Barvayani ouzo is 100% distillation, meaning that it is pure alcohol distilled in their process as is shown on their label. All Barvayani ouzo is cut with pure spring water from a high mountain well (at altitude) and the flavor speaks volumes of the uncompromising attitude of the distillers.
The Barvayani family enjoys some notoriety, in a good way, as the operation was named in the SuperBrands book showing the business from 1860 to 2010. A well earned credit, it seems. The current business is operated by the family trinity of 2 brothers and a sister and their children. The 5th and 6th generations are now working together and their employees seem like family too! A fine tradition of a good family, an excellent work ethic, a caring community atmosphere, and an impressively good product! History and tradition is evident in every taste!