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World-famous Russian Stolichnaya vodka will rebrand

Just call it Stoli vodka. The Stoli Group has announced that it is doing a “major rebrand” and ending “the use of the Stolichnaya name” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yuri Shefler, owner of Stolichnaya vodka brand

The brand’s owner, Russian-born billionaire, Yuri Shefler, said the factors behind the decision include his “vehement position” on the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and “the desire to accurately represent Stoli’s roots in Latvia”.

Since Shefler was exiled, Stoli Vodka’s production facilities have been located in Latvia where blending, charcoal column filtration, bottling, packaging and distribution are handled.

“While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand,” Shefler said in a statement, adding the name no longer represents the organization.

“More than anything, I wish for ‘Stoli’ to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine.”

The Stoli brand is part of SPI Group of companies, a global organisation with a significant portfolio of spirits and wine brands from around the world, with Stoli’s European Global HQ based in Luxembourg. 

“For decades, Stoli Group has resisted oppressive political regimes. We stand now with all Ukrainians and Russians calling for peace,” said Damian McKinney, Global CEO, Stoli Group.

“This is very personal to us. As a former Royal Marine Commando, I know all too well the desire to take action. We have the resources and ability to sponsor in the near term, and are establishing plans for the long haul to continue to help the region that has been so good to Stoli for many years.”

In support Stoli Group has announced an immediate financial commitment to World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-profit organization that is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to climate, humanitarian, and community crises. The support will go directly to relief in Ukraine. 

“The reality and uncertainty of this war is immense and we are identifying immediate ways we can support Ukrainians,” added McKinney.

Amid the invasion, many vodka brands in the US, such as Smirnoff and Stoli, have been suffering from misdirected anti-Russian sentiment. Many businesses have been pulling Russian vodka brands from store shelves and some bars have been pouring out the liquor.

The company the global rebranding to Stoli Vodka is expected to roll out in South Africa in 2023. Further details will be shared later this year.

Related reading:

The story of Stolichnaya vodka is long, convoluted, and extraordinary in parts. Here is some interesting background reading:

  • The Jewish billionaire caught in the middle of the Stoli boycott – read more
  • How did Russia reclaim a legendary vodka brand from an exiled billionaire? – read more

Source: Stoli Group

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