Distillery apologises for Novichok vodka

A Bristol distillery has apologised after it launched a 75% abv vodka named Novichok days after a woman and her partner were poisoned with the same nerve agent that almost killed former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury earlier this year.

Bristol Dry Gin’s limited edition Novichok vodka has since sold out with no plans to produce anymore

Dawn Sturgess, 44, from Amesbury, eight miles north of Salisbury, fell ill on 30 June, and died on Sunday after she was exposed to “a large dose” of the substance, while her partner, Charlie Rowley, remains critically ill in hospital.

On Saturday, Bristol Dry Gin posted an image on its Facebook page of of its new limited edition release – a 75% abv vodka named Novichok.

“Our new limited edition vodka is out! Set at 75%, this smooth drinking spirit is no laughing matter,” it said in the post.

“Available as a 35cl bottle, perfect for manbags and gym bottles, or as a pack of three 5cl minis, a great solution to body cavity searches. Get em from our web store or distillery.”

The timing of the post was criticised by users as being in “poor taste” and the distillery has since apologised, admitting that the timing of the product, “may have lacked sensitivity”, the Bristol Post reported.

In a statement, the distillery said: “Novichok Edition has been in development for some time, and was only named and released after the Skripals had recovered.

“It was intended to lighten the mood and ease tensions, not to cause offence, and reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. We sincerely apologise if any offence was caused, especially to the families of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, and understand the timing of the release of this product may have lacked sensitivity.

“The Novichok Edition is a limited edition, which sold out within a hours of being released, and we have no plans to produce any more.”

Novichok is the name for a group of Russian chemical weapons designed by the Soviet Union in the 1990s, and are among the most toxic substances ever created.

It’s not known how Sturgess and her partner contracted the nerve agent, but tests have confirmed they touched a contaminated item with their hands.

2 Responses to “Distillery apologises for Novichok vodka”

  1. Demetri Walters says:

    Dear Lauren,
    75% abv and 75% proof are NOT the same thing.
    Rgs, Demetri

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