Stolichnaya Vodka Renamed

It's now officially 'Stoli,' due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2022 2:31 AM CST
Stolichnaya Vodka Is Now Officially 'Stoli'
This is a display of Stolichnaya Vodka from Russia in a Total Wine and More store in University Park, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(Newser) – You probably refer to Stolichnaya vodka as "Stoli" anyway, but now it's official: The company that owns the iconic spirit brand says it is turning that nickname into the vodka's actual name. The move is an attempt to distance the brand from Russia, NPR reports. Calling the decision a "direct response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine," the Stoli Group says in a statement, "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."

As the AP explains, Russian billionaire and staunch Vladimir Putin critic Yuri Shefler founded Stoli Group in 1997; he was exiled from the country in 2002, and production moved to Latvia at that point. But Eater has a more in-depth look at the vodka itself, the roots of which extend back to the Soviet Union days. The Russian government produces its own vodka called Stolichnaya, but Stoli Group owns the trademark rights to the name (which means "from the capital city" in Russian) in 150 countries including the US. "More than anything, I wish for Stoli to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine," Shefler says. (Read more Stolichnaya stories.)

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