Pyotr Arsenjevitch Smirnov (9 January 1831-29 November 1898) founded his vodka distillery in Moscow in 1864 under the trading name of PA Smirnov, 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 (7 November 1875–25 August 1934). The company flourished and produced more than 4 million cases of vodka per year.
In 1904, the Tsar nationalized the Russian vodka industry and Vladimir Smirnov was forced to sell his factory and brand. During the October Revolution of 1917, the Smirnov family had to flee the country. Vladimir Smirnov re-established a factory in 1920 in Constantinople (present day Istanbul). Four years later he moved to Lwów (formerly Poland, now Lviv, Ukraine) and started to sell the vodka under the contemporary French spelling of the name, "Smirnoff". The new product sold marginally well but not nearly as it had in Russia prior to 1904. An additional distillery was founded in Paris in 1925; however the company was a shadow of its former self.
The next line of Smirnoff's malt beverages to be produced was "Raw Teas", similar to the brand Twisted Tea. It comes in flavors such as Lemon, Peach, Raspberry and Green Tea. This product line has been marketed most notably with the "Tea Partay" music video and website. It is sold in six-packs of 12 oz. [355 ml] bottles.
Smirnoff Source, a lightly carbonated beer-alternative, was released in May 2007. It is citrus-flavoured and made with alcohol (3.5% ABV) and spring water and is sold in 4-packs of 1-quart [947 ml] bottles.
A line of 22 flavoured vodkas (based on the No.21 Red Label) with the "Twist" moniker appended on the end of the name have also been introduced. Flavours include Green Apple, Orange, Cranberry, Raspberry, Citrus (Lemon), Vanilla, Strawberry, Black Cherry, Watermelon, Lime, Blueberry, White Grape, Melon (Honeydew/Cantaloupe), Pomegranate, Passion Fruit, Pear, Peach, Pineapple, Mango, Coconut, and most recently Amaretto.
In 2004, Smirnoff trialled a new blend of vodka in the UK and Canada called Smirnoff Penka. Marketing and distribution was handled by The Reserve Brands of Diageo plc. As of 2007 Penka continues to be available in the UK.
In a 2005 New York Times blind tasting of 21 world-class vodkas, Smirnoff won as the "hands-down favorite".
In 2010, Smirnoff introduced the Cocktail Range. Pomegranate Martini with Meyer Lemon-flavoured Liquor and pomegranate juice, Mojito with a dash of mint and Kaffir lime and Grand Cosmopolitan with cranberry juice. Tuscan Lemonade and Savannah Tea were later added.
A study in 2013, shows that Smirnoff malt beverages were the second-most popular brand specific alcohols consumed by underage youths in the United States.
The latest addition is the Smirnoff Sours vodkas, introduced in 2014. Flavors available are Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Green Apple, and Berry Lemon.
In 2016, Smirnoff introduced two new Smirnoff Ice flavors: Electric Mandarin and Electric Berry. Also in 2016, Smirnoff introduced the new Spiked line, available in Original, Screwdriver and Hurricane Punch, as well as their Sourced line of fruit juice vodka, available in Ruby Red Grapefruit, Pineapple and Cranberry Apple.