‘Stoli’ will be the brand name for Stolichnaya vodka. The vodka brand changed its name as a ‘direct response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,’ according to a press release from the Stoli Group. Yuri Shefler, a Russian-born billionaire who founded the company, said the name and its association with Russia did not represent the brand.
In a press release, Shefler said that even though he had been exiled from Russia since 2000 for his opposition to Putin, he was proud of the Stolichnaya brand. ‘Today, we have made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organization. More than anything, I wish for ‘Stoli’ to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine’, he added.
Shefler claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to ‘wrest control’ of the brand from him by forcing him to move to Luxembourg. The ownership of the brand has been disputed between Shefler’s Stoli Group, which is based in Latvia, and Sojuzplodoimport, a Russian state-owned firm, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
‘I have personally experienced persecution by Putin’s regime and I share the pain of Ukraine and its people,’ Shefler said. Stratovia’s production facilities are located in Latvia. According to the Stoli Group, it will only use Slovakian sources to avoid ties with the Russian government.
A boycott of vodka is being advocated by businesses and government officials across the country in response to the announcement from Stoli Group. Even though many vodka products in the US are advertised as Russian, only about 1% of vodka comes from that country.