100 year history

<center>100  year history</center>
100 year history


In Armenia tobacco cultivation started in the beginning of the 19th century, but tobacco farming began to develop at a rapid pace, after the Soviet regime was established.

In 1924 the Yerevan Tobacco Factory was founded on the basis of Haycoop consumer company.

Until 1948 the Yerevan Tobacco factory produced only rolls and cigarettes. In 1948 the production of cigarettes with filter and without filter was started and in the mid-1960s, for the first time in the USSR, the production of acetate filters was organized here.

In 1977 the Yerevan Tobacco Factory was reorganized and renamed «ARMTABAKPROM», the Armenian tobacco manufacturing unit. At that time «ARMTABAKPROM» was one of the largest units of the USSR tobacco industry, producing 90% of acetate filters, 10-12% of rolls and cigarettes, and 8.5% of the fermented tobacco produced in the USSR.

In 1978 «ARMTABAKPROM» produced «Akhtamar», «Arin-berd», «Salyut», «Sevan», «HS», «Hrazdan», «Masis», «Aurora», «Hayastan» and other types - 10.4 billion cigarettes and rolls, which were successfully presented at union and international exhibitions and fairs (USSR , Leipzig, Damascus, Jakarta, Tehran, Montreal, London, Tokyo, etc.).

The leading brand of this vast portfolio was the legendary «Akhtamar». It was distinguished by its soft taste and fruity aroma. Often times it was paired together with Armenian brandy, creating an exceptional combination and  opening many, many closed doors. Akhtamar has won many medals at the international exhibitions and fairs.

In 1974 Hrant Vardanyan, a newly graduated engineer-technologist from the Yerevan Polytechnic Institute, was directed to work at the Yerevan Tobacco Factory. Having worked for many years, he gained invaluable knowledge and experience here which he later successfully invested in the restoration of the Armenian tobacco cultivation and cigarette production.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990’s, the sudden regional economic instability resulted in market losses, putting the Armenian tobacco industry on the verge of extinction.

The increasing presence of foreign companies and smuggled cigarettes reduced the market share of  the Armenian cigarettes down from 80% to 5-6%.

In 1995 the privatization of «ARMTABAKPROM» took place. Following this, in 1997, the Armenian-Canadian joint venture «Grand Tobacco» was founded by Hrant Vardanyan, and the revival of the Armenian tobacco production began. The rapid growth and expansion of «Grand Tobacco» became a driving and stimulating force for the development of many industrial productions in Armenia.

Since 2000 «Masis Tobacco» company, founded by Hrant Vardanyan, has been successfully growing tobacco in Armenia. As of today, supply contracts  are signed with more than 500 farmers who are then provided with all the necessary technical and cultivation tools. The collected green raw material pass through drying chambers, then is processed in the threshing line, providing a final outcome of high-quality raw material. «Masis  Tobacco» production is exclusively supplied  to «Grand Holding» companies.

Today Hrant Vardanyan's two sons, Mikayel and Karen Vardanyan, with confident and steady steps continue their father’s work. Thanks to the 50-year efforts and hard work of the Vardanyan family, «Grand Tobacco», together with the companies «International Masis Tabak» and «Masis Tobacco», proudly stand as the market leader in the region and the leading corporation of the Armenian economy.

Our mission to reduce the harm of tobacco remains at the center of our activities, which we continuously solve with the help of innovative filters.

Thanks to several years of experience, Grand Tobacco offers 20 different types of filters, giving our consumers a wide variety of choice.

Since 2010 «International Masis Tabak»  has invested in cigar production. Today the company offers premium hand-rolled cigars in various price segments, sizes and flavors.

In 2016  «International Masis Tabak» started the production of hookah (shisha) tobacco. The Alkasar and Dark Line Diamant portfolio includes more than 43 varieties. Our hookah tobacco is made from the highest quality tobacco leaves of German and French origin and is infused with natural and juicy European supplied aromas.

Over the past 15 years export volumes have been steadily increasing and several brands have become more popular among foreign smokers.

Today «GRAND  TOBACCO» proudly preserves its reputation as a worthy heir of the former «ARMTABAKPROM» and even surpasses it several times in productivity, reaching 70 billion sticks of cigarette annually.

In 2024 «Grand Holding» celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian tobacco production, staying true to its motto: