There is quite rightly a lot of outrage following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and while Governments around the world are imposing sanctions, many businesses and individuals are doing their bit by not using Russian products.

Across social media in particular bartenders, bars and people outside the industry have called for Russian products to not be used, or to be totally removed from shelves.

This strong action The Shout fully supports, but the groundswell of action has led to many wrong brands, that are not Russian, being called out for banning. So by all means do you bit, take the action you want to take, but make sure you get it right.

For instance one brand regularly called out is Stolichnaya, so much so that Stoli Group which owns the brand issued a global statement denouncing Russian aggression and highlighting that Stolichnaya is in fact a Latvian product.

“The safety and security of our Ukrainian team is our top priority. We are monitoring the situation closely and are already moving swiftly and decisively to provide support where needed, both to our people on the ground as well as partners,” noted Damian McKinney, Global CEO, Stoli Group. “While we do not have any operations in Russia, we do in Ukraine and across many of the boarding countries.”

Stoli Premium and Elit vodka are manufactured and bottled in Riga, Latvia. The brand is registered with the US TTB as a Latvian product.

“We are inspired by the Russian people who have taken to the streets calling for an end to this attack on a sovereign nation. For decades, Stoli® Group has supported the marginalized and those at risk of unwarranted aggression. We stand now with all Ukrainians and Russians calling for peace,” said Damian.

Similarly Amber Beverage Group, which owns several vodka brands announced its support for the people of Ukraine.

Jekaterina Stuģe, the Chief Executive Officer at Amber Beverage Group, said: “With deep roots in the Baltic region, we could not silently observe what is happening from the sidelines. Together with much of the world we are sharing sadness and deep concerns due to the escalating situation in Ukraine and we are looking for practical opportunities to help. Military action in Ukraine is unacceptable for us and we aim to offer support to the people affected. Apart from the donation, we will be looking for further opportunities to give aid to our near neighbours.”

She added: “Today more than ever we want to emphasize that Amber Beverage Group is a Luxembourg-headquartered, global company and that our business and our core brands, like, Moskovskaya Vodka, Riga Black Balsam, Rooster Rojo Tequila and others, are international brands, built on cultural heritage and produced in Latvia, Estonia, Ireland, or Mexico, mainly using production materials from European countries. In seven years, we have grown from a pan-Baltic spirits business into a leading producer, distributor, logistics service provider and retailer of beverages serving thousands of clients across the globe.”

Many brands do claim to be ‘Russian style vodka’ but they are not Russian, so definitely take action, let’s show our support for the people of Ukraine, but please let’s get it right.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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