Stoli Group ups support for UkraineBy Alice Brooker
Bayou Rum producer Stoli Group has renewed its support for a non-profit providing meals for Ukrainians affected by Russia’s invasion of the country.
World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a non-profit organisation that provides meals in times of crisis, and is currently providing millions of meals to citizens of Ukraine following the invasion of Russia in February 2022.
Stoli has produced a limited edition vodka to raise funds for WCK.
“Ukraine has suffered immense loss. It is an obligation and an honour to do what we can, and we are proud to support WCK,” said Damian McKinney, global CEO, Stoli Group.
“Since the start of the invasion last year, WCK has served more than 200 million meals to displaced Ukrainians across eight countries, including 184 million meals in Ukraine alone.
“Stoli Group’s support so far has helped serve more than 36,000 meals to Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people. For instance, WCK teams were present in Kharkiv following the recent missile on a residential building and also present after the horrific attacks in Dnipro, serving hot meals to residents, and search and rescue teams.”
Stoli will reveal additional fundraising events in the weeks ahead. At the start of the conflict, the producers said it relocated Ukrainian employees facing ‘extraordinary difficulties’. For others who chose to remain, Stoli provided financial, emotional and tactical support.
McKinney added: “We have been supporting our suppliers in Ukraine, including businesses such as Guala Closures.
“We have also particularly been supporting another supplier in an area that was initially overrun by Russian troops to help it return to successful trading. Supporting these businesses in 2022 presented many challenges, but we took the view that sticking with your values comes with a price, and it is worth paying.
“When it comes to Ukraine’s economic stability and recovery, which is vital for now and the long term, there is only so much governments and NGOs [non-governmental organisations] can do, businesses must do the heavy-lifting too.”
Time for businesses ‘to return’
In March, Stoli Group rebranded, ending the use of the Stolichnaya name in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the “name no longer represents [the] organisation”, according to founder Yuri Shefler, who relocated to Luxembourg when Putin came to power.
McKinney continued: “I am proud to say Stoli is doing what it can, and I know from my recent visit to Ukraine that Ukrainians are hugely appreciative of international businesses that are still operating there.
“Much of Ukraine is in the situation of ‘business as usual within a war economy’, and I would urge any businesses that exited Ukraine last year because of the invasion, now is the time to return.”
In November 2022, Russian state-owned liquor company The Federal Treasury Enterprise Sojuzplodoimport (FKP) said it would pursue ‘lengthy litigations’ if the vodka trademarks it claims ownership over, including Stoli vodka, were auctioned.