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REBRANDING

Vodka brand is changing its name due to Russian connotations

By our News Team | 2022

Stolichnaya Vodka, which is not based in Russia, is to be called Stoli in future as it seeks to distance itself from a consumer backlash.

The war in Ukraine has created a large number of business casualties, not least vodka brands that have been removed from the shelves in various countries due to official or consumer pressure. Problem is, not all of those brands are Russian.

Stolichnaya Vodka is one such example. Based in the European nation of Latvia and with an owner who is strongly anti-Putin due to being exiled from Russia for his anti-Putin stance, the company has decided to rebrand to Stoli Vodka.

It hopes this name change will help it avoid the backlash being experienced in various countries. In the UK, vodka products have been removed from stores due to anti-Russian sentiment, while in the US people have taken to pouring vodka down drains – including Stolichnaya in some instances.

Rebranding

Photo credit: Stoli Group

According to the company, its employees are also on board with the rebranding, partly because they have been looking for ways to show their displeasure at Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Brand owner has been living in exile

In a media statement, Stoli Group founder Yuri Shefler said: “While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand.”

As a result, the business had “made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organisation”, Shefler stated.

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

Since Russia’s action, a large number of major corporations have withdrawn, suspended or cut back on their business activities in the country – which has a market of 144-million people.

Among the companies are Nestlé, Unilever, Adidas, Shell, BP, Western Union, American Express, Ikea, Heineken, Starbucks and Renault.

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