Russian Gingerbread
The Secret of Vyazma-Cake

The Red October Factory

The history of Красный Октябрь (the Red October factory) is the story of a great commercial success.

The story begins in 1851, when Teodore Ferdinand von Einem, a German confectioner, opened a small business on the Arbat. His partner Julius Heuss, also a German citizen, had a great talent for business. They soon moved their confectionery shop on Teatralnaya Square, and in 1867, they had sufficient capital to order a new steam machine in Europe and to start the construction of a factory on the bank of the Moskva River.

The first factory was a 3-storey building on the Sofiyskaya Embankment. But with the growth of production, new buildings were added over the years.

Teodore Einem greatest talent was his understanding of Russians’ taste. He created a wide range of chocolate, candies, biscuits and gingerbread to satisfy the ever-growing demand.

Little by little he left his business to Julius Heuss, who was wise enough not to change the name of the already known trade-mark, nor the quality of the products.

Most employees of the factory came from neighbouring villages and where living at the factory hostel and fed at the factory canteen. Although, they had to work 10 hours a day at that time, they were granted certain privileges such as a school for children-apprentices, hospital financial assistance for those in need, and the guarantee of a pension for those who worked more than 25 years in the factory.

In 1896, after the products of the company were awarded with the golden medal at the All-Russian industrial and artistic exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod, the enterprise was allowed to bear the national emblem of Russia on its packages.

The factory win the Grand-prix for its wide range of products and excellent quality of its chocolate at the Paris World Fair in 1900.

During WWI, the factory helped with monetary donations, with the organisation of a hospital for the soldier and with sending wagons of cookies to the front.

The factory was nationalised in 1918, and named “State Confectionery Factory” and in 1922, it was renamed “Red October” with the mention “former Einem” in brackets.

During the years of WWII, the factory was re-equipped to produce military products such as porridge concentrates or special “Cola” chocolate for the airmen and submariners.

After the war, “Red October” developed together with the rest of the country. In the 1960s along with the modernisation of the factory, new buildings were added.

In the early 2000s Moscow authorities prohibited all industrial facilities inside the city limits, and the different sites of production had to be moved to the suburbs. However, it was decided that the museum of the Red October factory will remain open, as well as the hand-made chocolate production department.

The other part of the site became home to fashion restaurants and bars, as well as the new art scene of Moscow.

Алёнка (Alyonka, girl’s name) probably the most famous chocolate from the Red October factory has been produced since 1966. The little girl with her wide blue eyes and scarf is famous not only in Russia but in many part of the world.