Pyotr Smirnov founded his vodka distillery in Moscow in 1864 under the trading name of PA Smirnoff, pioneering charcoal filtration in the 1870s, and becoming the first to utilize newspaper ads along with charitable contributions to the clergy to stifle anti-vodka sermons, capturing two-thirds of the Moscow market by 1886. His brand was reportedly a Tsar favorite. When Pyotr died, he was succeeded by his third son Vladimir Smirnov (1875–1939). The company flourished and produced more than 4 million cases of vodka per year.
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