Russian Standard has launched legal action in the US against "unfounded allegations" from Pernod Ricard in the ongoing row over the authenticity of Stolichnaya vodka.

The Russian vodka producer filed the lawsuit in New York yesterday (23 October), accusing Pernod and Allied Domecq, the previous holder of the US rights to Stolichnaya, of "false advertising".

The lawsuit comes six months after Russian Standard's billionaire owner, Roustam Tariko, launched his first attack on the heritage of Stolichnaya. Tariko then claimed Stoli was "not authentically Russian" and insisted that marketing campaigns promoting the brand's Russian origins were "inaccurate and misleading to vodka consumers".

Yesterday, Tariko said he wanted the US courts to "evaluate the facts" behind the "authenticity claims" made regarding the heritage of Stolichnaya.

"Product origin and authenticity are extremely important, and consumers have a right to know what kind of product they are consuming," he said. "We are proud that Russian Standard vodka was born in Russia, made in Russia, and is the number one premium vodka brand in Russia."

Tariko added: "Our complaint asks the US court to evaluate the facts behind authenticity claims made regarding Stolichnaya vodka, and to resolve the parties' dispute based on those facts."

Officials at Pernod could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit as just-drinks went to press. When Tariko's claims first surfaced in April, Pernod labeled them as "grossly misleading".

The French drinks giant then said: "Pernod Ricard reiterates that Stolichnaya is truly Russian, being distilled and produced in Russia using Russian grain and water. It is then shipped in bulk and bottled in Latvia."

Russian Standard has launched an assault on the US market in an attempt to tap into strong demand for premium vodkas in the country. Stolichnaya has been among the leading premium vodkas on sale in the US, its popularity based on marketing campaigns flagging its Russian heritage.

Russian Standard unveiled its flagship brand Imperia in the US last year. In June, the company struck a deal with Rémy Cointreau that will see the French group's US arm distribute Russian Standard's vodka portfolio across the Atlantic.