Vodka producer rebrands due to Russia-Ukraine warBy Alice Brooker
Stoli Group has rebranded, ending the use of the Stolichnaya name in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Stoli Vodka was founded by Russian-born Yuri Shefler, who relocated to Luxembourg when Putin came to power. The brand will now be exclusively sold and marketed as Stoli.
“While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand,” commented Shefler.
“Today, we have made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organisation. More than anything, I wish for Stoli to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine.”
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the manufacturer of the brand has been disputed between Russian company FKP Soyuzplodoimport and Shefler’s SPI Group. Since Shefler was exiled, Stoli’s production facilities have been located in Latvia, where blending, bottling, packaging and distribution take place.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stoli said it would engage with Slovakian sources to ensure Stoli vodka is a non-Russian alpha-grade spirit.
“This is very personal to us. As a former royal marine commando, I know all too well the horrors of war,” commented Damian McKinney, global CEO of Stoli Group.
“We have employees, partners and distributors in the region directly impacted. They are asking that we take a bold stand. This is one actionable, meaningful thing we can do to make it clear that we support Ukraine.”
The firm has also donated to World Central Kitchen (WCK) to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. WCK is a non-profit organisation that provides meals for citizens in need.
Last week, Global Data revealed that Russian vodka is in a “precarious position” as brands face widespread boycotting because of the war in Ukraine.
Furthermore, Amber Beverage Group and operators of UK bars London Cocktail Club and Banyan have also demonstrated support for Ukraine.