Ok so we don’t normally do politics, nor do we do spirits; however these are exceptional times. The Drinks Business recently posted an article on this subject, some of which is worth reproducing here.
Amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a movement to boycott Russian vodka in bars and shops has risen. The issues many business owners face surround the fact that vodka, which is produced all over the world, can hail from many different countries and, as such, simply ditching Russian-sounding brands is relatively unhelpful for all.
For instance, Stolichnaya is a Russian brand owned by two different companies – one based in Russia, and one based in Luxembourg. Yet, the Stolichnaya vodka you find in the UK is distilled in Latvia, although it does use alcohol from a distillery in Russia. The umbrella company – SPI Group – which is owned by Russian born businessman Yuri Shefler (who left Russia and moved to the UK following a dispute with the Kremlin) – is reportedly upset about links being made between its brand and Russia.
According to reports, Stoli Group CEO Damian McKinney said: “With regard to us being Russian. We are absolutely not a Russian company, we are a global organisation with a significant portfolio of spirits and wine brands from around the world.” In addition to this, on the Stoli Group website the Stoli Group there is a large banner in support of Ukraine.
Russian vodka brands include: Russian Standard; Husky Vodka; Beluga Noble Vodka; Ustianochka; Tsarskaya Vodka; Green Mark and Polugar.
Similarly, Smirnoff, which began as a Russian vodka is now owned by drink giant Diageo and is made all over the world. It is not, however, made in Russia, despite its Russian-sounding name.
To counter the confusion and to help guide people towards an array of equally excellent vodkas, the drinks business has listed alternatives with the countries in which they are created.
Dima’s Vodka, Ukraine
Khlibnyi Dar, Ukraine
Black Cow, UK
Ketel One, Netherlands
In addition there are many small local distillers in the UK.