In direct response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stoli® Group announced a major rebrand and the end of the use of the Stolichnaya name. Going forward the vodka will exclusively be sold and marketed as Stoli.
The three driving factors behind the decision are the founder’s vehement position on the Putin regime; the Stoli employees determination to take action; and the desire to accurately represent Stoli’s roots in Latvia.
“While I have been exiled from Russia since 2002 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand,” commented Yuri Shefler, Founder, Stoli Group. “Today, we have made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organization.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.”
Stoli Vodka’s production facilities have been located in Latvia since 2000 where blending, charcoal column filtration, bottling, packaging and distribution are handled. Earlier this week it was announced that after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stoli would engage exclusively with Slovakian sources to further ensure 100% non-Russian alpha grade spirit.
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“This is very personal to us. As a former Royal Marine Commando, I know all too well the horrors of war,” commented Damian McKinney, Global CEO, Stoli Group. “We have employees, partners and distributors in the region directly impacted. They are asking that we take a bold stand. This is one actionable, meaningful thing we can do to make it clear that we support Ukraine.”
To further support Ukraine, Stoli has made a financial commitment to World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-profit organization that is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to climate, humanitarian, and community crises. The support will go directly to relief in Ukraine. As the company continues to work with partners in the region, further initiatives to address the humanitarian crisis will be announced.
Stoli Group Denounces Russian Aggression and Shares History of Opposition
Stoli® Group has a long history of fighting the Russian regime. In a statement Stoli said, “We unequivocally condemn the military action in Ukraine and stand in support of the Ukrainian people.”
“The safety and security of our Ukrainian team is our top priority. We are monitoring the situation closely and are already moving swiftly and decisively to provide support where needed, both to our people on the ground as well as partners,” noted McKinney. “While we do not have any operations in Russia, we do in Ukraine and across many of the bordering countries.”
“I have personally experienced persecution by Putin’s regime and I share the pain of Ukraine and its people,” said Shefler.
After purchasing the struggling business in 1997, Shefler transformed Stoli® vodka into a global vertically integrated company. In 2000, in one the first examples of the regime identifying a valuable asset and attempting to wrest control of it, Putin waged a battle for Stoli ® vodka trademarks across the world. This is still ongoing in some countries. Yuri Shefler left Russia in 2002 and has not returned since.
When all else failed, the regime established FKP Soyuzplodoimport (also known as FTE Soyuzplodoimport), a Russian state-company created in 2002 to attack trademark rights around the world. Based in Moscow, FKP sells an inferior Russian product called Stolichnaya in very limited markets. The product is easily distinguishable from Stoli® Group’s as the label clearly states made in Russia. Stoli® Group has no connection to this product in both production and ideology. FKP may not sell their product in 150 countries around the world, including the United States, where we own the trademark rights and where only our Latvian produced vodka can be lawfully sold.
“For decades, Stoli® Group has resisted Putin’s regime. We stand now with all Ukrainians and Russians calling for peace,” said McKinney.
Stoli Group was established in 2013 and is responsible for the production, management, and distribution of a global spirits and wines portfolio. Mainly known for the Stoli® Vodka brand, Stoli Group has expanded to appeal to luxury on-premise and more sophisticated global consumers. Signature brands are: Stoli® Vodka, elit™Vodka, Bayou® Rum, Kentucky Owl™, Villa One™, Gator Bite™ Rum Liquers, Cenote™ Tequila, Tulchan Gin™, Se Busca™ Mezcal and Stoli Group’s wine division, Tenute del Mondo®.