Russian Vodka on Rocks in Europe – POLITICO

European countries and supermarket chains have begun banning Russian vodka to show their distaste for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Government-controlled alcohol monopolies in Finland and Sweden were the first to ban alcohol of Russian origin on Monday, followed by authorities in Norway on Tuesday.

Major supermarket brands across the three Baltic countries – including Top! and Elvi in LatviaCoop and Rimi in Estonianand Norfa and Maxima in Lithuania – also banned Russian vodka and went a step further, banning all goods of Russian origin.

A historic wine shop in Rome, Bernabei, has suspended all sales of Russian-made liquor despite claiming that these account for 25% of its sales. In the UK, chain bar owner Nightcap announced they will also boycott Russian alcohol.

But European consumers love the iconic Russian drink – in the days of Ivan the Terrible create a third of the country’s total sales – today mainly drink vodka produced elsewhere. According to market analysis firm IWSR, Russian brands account for only 3% of total vodka consumption in Europe.

IWSR COO Emily Neill said: “The boycott of Russian vodka brands will have a fairly small impact on Russian vodka producers. “Therefore, any significant impact is more likely to be symbolic.”

Great Britain, Germany and Latvia are the biggest importers Russia’s vodka globally – worth $50.2 million in total – pales in comparison to the total amount of vodka worth 6.8 billion euros consumed by EU citizens in 2020.

Besides, Russia can no longer claim a monopoly on vodka. European countries such as Poland, Sweden and Finland legally protect their vodka production by geographical indications.

Many of the top vodka brands, including Smirnoff and Żubrówka, are also produced entirely outside Russia. In 2020, Sweden and France are the largest exporters of vodka, while Russia’s beverage exports account for only 8.3% of total global alcohol.

A spokesman for spirits organization EUROPE, which represents 11 spirits companies in 24 EU countries, said: “What people don’t know enough is that the EU has a very rich vodka production tradition.

“I think it is very important to emphasize the fact that all vodka by definition is not Russian.”

The moves of European countries follow the governors from 10 US states limit sales of Russian-made and Russian-branded vodka in the past week.

POLITICO contacted the governments of the UK and Germany, where Russian-made vodka is most popular, to ask if they also plan to ban the drink, but received no response. Russian Vodka on Rocks in Europe - POLITICO

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