Vodka owner Stolichnaya announces brand change to take off Russia’s image

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The maker of Stolichnaya vodka announced a major rebrand on Friday, in direct response to its founder’s “vehement stance” against the Putin regime and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The vodka, known as Russian, will now be sold and traded simply as Stoli, the company said in a statement.

The founder of the Stoli Group, Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler, was exiled from that country in 2000 because of his opposition to Putin. The liqueur has long been marketed as Russian vodka, but its production facilities have been in Latvia since that year. The Stoli Group is a unit of the SPI Group, based in Luxembourg.

The company also cited its employees’ desire to act and accurately represent vodka’s Latvian roots.

Earlier this week, the Stoli Group announced that it would only use Slovak sources to ensure none of its ingredients come from Russia.

Officials in states from Ohio to New Hampshire have asked liquor stores to remove Russian-made or Russian-branded products from their shelves — which in most cases means vodka. Some bar owners even threw out their Stoli vodka in protest.

These boycotts and protests are unlikely to have much of an impact, however. Russian-made vodka accounts for a very small percentage of the roughly $7 billion in annual vodka sales, according to the Distilled Spirits Council (Discus), a national trade organization representing spirits makers.

In the United States, less than 1% of the vodka consumed is produced in Russia. More than half of all vodka consumed domestically is made in the US, according to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, a global company that tracks alcohol sales.

Source: CNN Brasil

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