Source: Robert Besser

RIGA, Latvia: In response to its founder’s “vehement position” against the Putin regime and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the manufacturer of Stolichnaya vodka announced a major re-brand last week.

In a statement, the company said the vodka, famously marketed as Russian, will now be sold and marketed simply as Stoli.

Russian-born billionaire Yuri Shefler, the Stoli Group’s founder, was exiled from Russia in 2000 because of his opposition to Putin. The vodka has long been marketed as Russian vodka, but its production facilities are in Latvia.

Stoli Group is a unit of Luxembourg-based SPI Group.

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The company also highlighted its employees’ keenness to accurately represent the vodka’s Latvian roots.

Earlier this week, it announced it would only use Slovakian sources in its vodka to ensure no ingredients are sourced from Russia.

In the U.S., states from Ohio to New Hampshire have called upon liquor stores to remove Russian-made or Russian-branded products from their shelves, and some bar owners have even removed Stoli vodka, in protest.

However, according to the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), a national trade organization that represents spirits manufacturers, such boycotts and protests are unlikely to have much impact, as Russian-made vodka accounts for only 1 percent of the roughly $7 billion in annual vodka sales in the U.S.

According to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, a global firm that tracks alcohol sales, more than half of all vodka consumed domestically is actually U.S. made.