Stoli Announces 'Major Rebrand' Of Vodka Amid Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine

By Jason Hall

March 7, 2022

Bottles of Stolichnaya vodka seen displayed on shelves of
Photo: Getty Images

The Stoli Group is dropping "the use of the Stolichnaya name" as part of a "major rebrand" to its vodka in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Founder Yuri Shefler cited multiple factors in relation to the change including his "vehement position" on Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime, as well as "the desire to accurately represent Stoli's roots in Latvia" in a statement shared in a PRNewswire press release announcing the decision.

"While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand," Shefler said, noting that he feels the name no longer represents the organization. "More than anything, I wish for 'Stoli' to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine."

Numerous businesses have already pulled Russian vodka brands from store shelves, while bars have poured out the liquids, in response to the launch of Russia's ongoing invasion last month.

Data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States shows only 1.2% of vodka imported to the United States came from Russia during the first half of 2021 and it is the only spirit listed as having originally come from the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country would conduct military operations in Eastern Ukraine during an NBC News translation of a speech addressing the Russian population prior to sunrise on February 24 in Moscow.

The announcement served as the final action ahead of an attack by Putin and the Russian military, which the U.S. and European allies to the neighboring Ukraine have attempted to prevent from taking place through diplomatic discussions.

A Ukraine interior minister confirmed to NBC News via text message that "cruise and ballistic missile strikes" were already underway shortly after Putin's announcement.

NBC News correspondent Erin McLaughlin said explosions could be heard from her live shot in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, at 6:00 a.m. local time.

More than 1,000 protesters were reportedly arrested during anti-war protests throughout Russia amid President Putin's announcement to conduct military operations and ensuing attack on Ukraine, BNO News reported.

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