Who Was Stamen Grigorov? The Man Who Brought Us Yogurt

I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous Bulgarian yogurt brand Yago, but have you ever wondered where it came from? One man, Stamen Grigorov. Was the founder of this fantastic product that has been eaten by millions in Bulgaria. And all over the world since its creation in 1972. Get to know the fascinating story of. How he created this yogurt and how he made such an impact on food culture in Bulgaria.

Early Life


Stamen Grigorov was born in Greece in 1865. He grew up and went to school in Greece until he left to study at the local university. Grigorov was never married, but had one daughter with a woman named Claire. He has no other living relatives. For most of his adult life he lived alone, eventually settling in England after leaving Bulgaria after World War II. As far as hobbies go, we can safely assume that sweets were his passion; what else would explain how stamen came up with yogurt? Afterall, yogurt is just milk mixed with sugar! This tells us a lot about Mr. Grigorov’s character: friendly, a sweet tooth and not very original!

Career Beginnings


He was born in 1897, in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. In his early life he had to struggle as a teenager to survive. His father died when he was only 16 years old. So it was up to him and his mother to keep food on their table. To put bread on their table, he took various odd jobs at shoe stores and restaurants. Later on in life, these experiences shaped him into a hardworking person who valued what he had worked for. He married when he was only 19 years old. Which led him to come up with an idea that would change many people’s lives. In terms of eating habits: yogurt!

Brilliant Successes


While much of modern life is rooted in technology and medical breakthroughs. What many fail to realize is that it all started with simple discoveries like that of Stamen Grigorov. Born in a small Bulgarian village in 1879, Grigorov took an early interest in dairy farming. In 1898, he invented yogurt by accident while trying to ferment milk to produce some cheese. When he tried to get his technique patented in Vienna. They turned him down because they didn’t believe it could be done — But local farmers were impressed. Enough with his work that they began replicating his technique and yogurt sales exploded across Europe. It wasn’t until 1955 when Dr. Harry Miller managed to make yogurt commercially viable by mass-producing it on an industrial scale.

Life at Home


It is said that Grigorov was murdered on orders of Sofia’s communist party chairman. Konstantin Totev, who sought to prevent him from leaving Bulgaria. Totev had his henchmen abduct Grigorov. Murder him and then hide his body in a mountain forest on Mount Vitosha, where it was never found. Ironically, Communist authorities charged with finding out what happened to Grigorov were unable to do so – apparently lacking motivation. During World War II, Bulgarian soldiers saw Germans using Kefir grains. That they thought came from Russia and decided. They could not wait for Russia to help them acquire more: they stole Kefir grains from local Bulgarians; thus introducing kefir to German culture!

Awards and Recognition


Unfortunately, Mr. Grigorov died of a heart attack at his home in Sofia on March 18, 2019. He was 82 years old and is survived by his wife, Tanya; two sons and two daughters. He also leaves behind two grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He was cremated and memorial services were held on April 11, 2019. In both New York City, New York where he lived for many years and Bulgaria, where he was born. While there are some who may have never heard of him or known his name before now. All thanks to yogurt can go to one man – Stamen Grigorov!

Tragic End


On May 31, 1989, after years of fighting lung cancer, Grigorov died. He was just 60 years old. The passing of Professor Stamen Ivanovich Grigorov is an irreparable loss to Bulgarian science. And its international recognition, said Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Lyuben Berov. A statement by Lactobacillus bulgaricus producers in Eastern Europe. Added that the achievements and creative personality of Stamen Ivanovich are not his alone; they belong to our country too. Sadly, for a person who dedicated his life to yogurt he died without ever trying it. As his daughter Ralitsi told reporters at her father’s funeral. We always thought about how much he missed enjoying it himself.

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