Top EU vodka brand calls it quits in Russia
The parent company of Swedish vodka Absolut has decided to stop exporting its products to Russia due to growing criticism over recent reports that supplies have resumed, the Absolut Company’s CEO Stephanie Durroux has said.
According to her statement on Tuesday, the company is exercising its “duty of care towards our employees and partners, we cannot expose them to massive criticism in all forms.”
Last week, media reported on the company's plans to partially revive deliveries of its products to Russia. Absolut's owner Pernod Ricard also confirmed to AFP that the firm had gone ahead with some sales to Russia, after previously halting them in March 2022.
Pernod said that the decision to resume exports was done in part to protect its staff in Russia from “criminal liability” and accusations of “intentional bankruptcy” due to Moscow’s allowing for parallel imports of alcohol without the permission of authorized importers, bypassing EU sanctions.
The choice to restart exports, however, sparked an outcry in Sweden, with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson reportedly saying he was “very surprised” to learn of the resumption.
Some bars and restaurants in Stockholm have stopped selling Pernod Ricard products, according to AFP.
Absolut suspended all business activities in Russia following the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions.
Absolut is a leading premium vodka made exclusively from hardy winter wheat grown in Southern Sweden, according to the company. It is the world’s sixth-largest spirits brand.
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