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Diageo and Brown-Forman stop Russia operations

Spirits firms Diageo, Brown-Forman, Pernod Ricard and Edrington have suspended sales in Russia in response to the war in Ukraine.

Brown-Forman Finlandia vodka
Brown-Forman produces Finlandia vodka

In a statement, Smirnoff owner Diageo confirmed it paused exports to Russia and Ukraine last week after the former began its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

A Diageo spokesperson said: “Our priority is the safety of our people in Ukraine and the wider region. We have paused the export of our products to Ukraine and Russia while we focus on supporting our employees.”

Brown-Forman, producer of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Finlandia vodka, also confirmed yesterday (9 March) that it had suspended commercial operations in Russia.

The company said: “We watch in horror as millions of Ukrainians continue to face the sombre realities of war. Our thoughts are with them and all those who are full of fear and uncertainty, displaced and desiring refuge, suffering and seeking peace, or mourning and missing loved ones.

“We are staying in close contact with our Ukrainian colleagues, providing assistance and financial support to help them during this time of need.

“In addition, we are making donations to Unicef, UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], and International Medical Corps, organisations aiding Ukrainian children and all refugees and offering medical assistance.”

The Macallan owner Edrington also confirmed a similar move. A spokesperson said: “Edrington has suspended all shipments to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all those displaced and suffering as a result of this crisis.

“Through our charitable giving fund, we are committed to supporting our employees worldwide in their efforts to help international humanitarian charities.”

Absolut vodka producer Pernod Ricard also confirmed in a statement that it had decided to suspend its exports to Russia.

Earlier this week, Halewood Artisanal Spirits confirmed it had moved production of its JJ Whitley vodka back to England, two years after it opened a multi-million-pound distillery for the brand in Russia.

Stoli Group has also ended the use of the Stolichnaya name in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Supermarkets across the UK, including Tesco and Morrisons, have removed Russian vodka from shelves to show their support for Ukraine.

Last week, SB spoke to the CEO of Ukrainian vodka Nemiroff, Yuriy Sorochynskiy, about the atrocities and challenges facing the nation.

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