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Consumers call for Pernod Ricard boycott

Jameson owner Pernod Ricard has come under fire following its decision to continue exporting its brands to Russia, despite similar backlash from Absolut Vodka consumers last week.

Jameson, owned by Pernod Ricard
Consumers have called for a boycott of all Pernod Ricard brands, including Jameson Irish whiskey

An article published by on Sunday (23 April) claimed Pernod Ricard’s Irish whiskey arm, Irish Distillers, will continue to export brands including Jameson and Redbreast to Russia, despite the suspension of Absolut Vodka exports to Sweden following public backlash.

Since then, the French firm confirmed this decision extends to its entire portfolio, including brands such as Beefeater gin and Olmeca Tequila.

Speaking to The Spirits Business, a spokesperson for Pernod Ricard said: “In full compliance with all international sanctions, the decision to resume our exports to Russia was taken once our pre-existing stocks (imported pre-war) were depleted and applied to our portfolio of brands.

“It is important to note that both the number of brands and the quantity sold of each have been strongly reduced across the portfolio, including the removal of Absolut as you have seen.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely with the protection of our local teams in the region of paramount importance.”

The move has sparked outcry on social media, with many consumers calling for a boycott of all Pernod Ricard brands.

“While Irish Distillers continues catering to the terrorists, we call to #BoycottJameson,” said the Ukrainian Community in Ireland account on Twitter.

“Sad that greed won out,” noted another Twitter account. “No more Jameson for me (and any of the other [Pernod Ricard]-owned brands)”.

Pernod Ricard did not confirm whether this decision would be reversed following this latest outcry from the public, as it did with Absolut Vodka.

The company did however note in a statement that Absolut’s presence in the country is small enough not to affect the viability of the Russian business.

Furthermore, the “weight” of Jameson and its overall activities in the Russian market is of such importance that to cease would threaten the economic viability of the business in Russia.

The spokesperson clarified: “Economic viability defines the level of activity below which a company and [its] employees are at risk of ‘intentional bankruptcy’, which is a criminal offence in Russia.”

Russia and Ukraine cumulatively accounted for 7% of all Irish whiskey sales in 2021, leaving a ‘likely negative impact’ on global sales in 2022, the Irish Whiskey Association said last year. Russia was previously the category’s second-biggest market with 7.3m bottles in 2019.

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