The Russian state has officially launched its versions of the famous vodka brands Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya at the Chernogolovka Distillery, which belongs to the OST group of companies.

At the launch general director of the state drinks enterprise Soyuzplodoimport, Vladimir Loginov, said the company would increase vodka production to 20 million decalitres over the next three years.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev, who attended the ceremony, said that the beginning of vodka production under state brands is "an important economic and political event."

However, SPI, the privately-owned group which once held the rights to these brands before they were confiscated by the Russian state said Soyuzplodoimport would never be able to export the brands. SPI still holds the trademark rights abroad for both Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya and is producing the brands from Latvia.

State trademark agency Rospatent handed over the brands to the ministry earlier this year following a protracted series of court cases against SPI Group, which was accused of acquiring them illegally from Soyuzplodoimport in the mid-90s.