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‘Vodka Empire,’ a tradition of 80-proof potatoes

Daniel Edelstyn’s grandmother, Maroussia, was a dancer and violinist in czarist Russia. She was also the daughter of a wealthy distiller. She fled to Britain after the revolution.

When Edelstyn, a British writer and musician in his 30s, discovered an autobiographical manuscript of hers he resolved to explore her Ukrainian past. The distillery and a sugar factory the family owned are about two hours from Kiev. He decided to try to export vodka from his ancestral village to Britain. More than that, he’d make a documentary about the attempt.

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