20 alternatives to Russian vodka brands
Amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a movement to boycott Russian vodka in bars and shops has risen. Here, db lists 20 alternatives.
The issues many business owners face surround the fact that vodka, which is produced all over the world, can hail from many different countries and, as such, simply ditching Russian-sounding brands is relatively unhelpful for all.
For instance, Stolichnaya is a Russian brand owned by two different companies – one based in Russia, and one based in Luxembourg. Yet, the Stolichnaya vodka you find in the US and UK is distilled in Latvia, although it does use alcohol from a distillery in Russia. The umbrella company – SPI Group – which is owned by Russian born businessman Yuri Shefler (who left Russia and moved to the UK following a dispute with the Kremlin) – is reportedly upset about links being made between its brand and Russia.
According to reports, Stoli Group CEO Damian McKinney said: “With regard to us being Russian. We are absolutely not a Russian company, we are a global organisation with a significant portfolio of spirits and wine brands from around the world.”
In addition to this, on the Stoli Group website the Stoli Group there is a large banner in support of Ukraine.
Russian vodka brands available in the UK and US in particular include: Russian Standard; Husky Vodka; Beluga Noble Vodka; Ustianochka; Tsarskaya Vodka; Green Mark and Polugar, however many bar owners are removing bottles from display or encouraging customers to buy an alternative and donate the money to a Ukrainian charity as a show of solidarity.
Similarly, Smirnoff, which began as a Russian vodka is now owned by drink giant Diageo and is made all over the world. It is not, however, made in Russia, despite its Russian-sounding name.
For publicans, bar and bottle shop owners as well as consumers, the outcry from the general public is that they want to help and to do what they can, even in some small way. Boycotting certain brands is one route, however, without a handy list of alternatives many are simply removing bottles from shelves.
Stores across the US and Canada have reportedly started throwing out their stocks of Russian vodka in protest of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Products will be removed from nearly 700 stores across Canada. While in the US, the number of states reportedly banning the sale of Russian brands is rising. “You wonder what you can do,’’ said Bob Quay, owner of Bob’s Bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “The US obviously is putting on sanctions. I thought I would put on sanctions as well. We have a sign above it that says: Support Ukraine.’’
To counter the confusion and to help guide people towards an array of equally excellent vodkas, the drinks business has listed 20 alternatives to stock, with the countries in which they are created. The list begins with Ukrainian vodkas for those establishments looking to make a bigger show of support.
BRAND: Dima’s Vodka
BRAND: Khlibnyi Dar
BRAND: Black Cow
BRAND: Grey Goose
BRAND: Ketel One
BRAND: New Amsterdam
BRAND: Crystal Head
BRAND: 42 Below
COUNTRY: New Zealand