As a ‘direct response’ to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Stoli Vodka has announced a major rebrand, and has ended its final production ties to Russia.
Stoli, which is produced in Latvia, will now source 100 per cent of its ingredients from Slovakia, while a global rebrand will remove the name ‘Stolichnaya’ from all its packaging.
Stoli’s Founder, Yuri Shefler, commented on the rebrand, saying, “While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand.”
“Today, we have made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organisation.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.”
Shefler and Stoli have previously released a statement denouncing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and with today’s statement announced that they would be providing financial support for World Central Kitchen (WCK). WCK is a non-profit organization that is providing meals to Ukrainian refugees and those that remain within the country. The Stoli Groupindicated that additional ‘initiatives to address the humanitarian crisis will soon be announced.’
Damian McKinney, Global CEO of the Stoli Group, also stressed the importance of supporting Ukraine.
“We have employees, partners and distributors in the region directly impacted [by the invasion].”
“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.”
McKinney added that conflict is “very personal to us.”
“As a former Royal Marine Commando, I know all too well the horrors of war.”
Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February, Stoli has repeatedly taken steps to highlight the brand’s separation from the Russian State, with the Stoli Group headquartered in Luxembourg and production facilities in Latvia.
The Stolichnaya brand is subject to a contested history, having likely been originally produced in the Soviet Union in the mid-1940s, though a trademark exists since 1938. Within Russia, the state-owned Soyuzplodoimport company has ownership of the brand.
The global Stoli Group has reiterated its commitment to ‘engage exclusively with Slovakian sources to further ensure 100 per cent non-Russian alpha grade spirit’.
Stoli aims to have donated USD$1million to WCK by August 24, 2022 (Ukrainian Independence Day) and says that it has already donated more than USD$100,000 to the organisation, helping to serve over five million meals to displaced Ukrainians.
Additional fundraising events, particular to the Australian market, are slated to be announced over the coming weeks.
Stoli’s WCK fundraising efforts can be tracked here.