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Absolut Vodka stops exports to Russia

Pernod Ricard has suspended exports of Absolut Vodka to Russia after consumer backlash in Sweden.

Absolut bottles
Swedish producer Absolut is one of the biggest vodka brands in the world

Penrod Ricard was among many drinks firms to suspend its exports to Russia in response to the war in Ukraine that began in February 2022.

Since March last year, the group has “strongly reduced” its activity in Russia and stopped marketing investments, Stephanie Durroux, CEO of The Absolut Company, said in a statement.

However, exports of Pernod Ricard products have since resumed in Russia to “ensure economic viability”, the group confirmed last month.

“By ensuring the economic viability of its distribution subsidiary through limited supply, Pernod Ricard has been able to protect its local team from any local criminal liability, relating to ‘intentional bankruptcy’ in particular,” Durroux said

The company has now made the decision to stop exports of Absolut Vodka to Russia after negative backlash in the brand’s home country.

“The reaction over the recent days is clearly reflective of the role Absolut plays for its extended community in Sweden,” Durroux noted. “We acknowledge the significance of these long-standing and trusting relationships with our Swedish employees, partners, consumers, and the Swedish society at large.

“Acknowledging also the duty of care towards our employees and partners, we cannot expose them to massive criticism in all forms.”

However, Durroux said the move to stop exports would not prevent the vodka brand from “falling into the hands of the parallel market, which has strongly increased in recent months and over which we have no control”.

Pernod Ricard said the company’s priority is the welfare and safety of its employees and their families in Russia and Ukraine.

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