Blog: Vodka under the bridge
Chris Brook-Carter | 16 October 2003
No country is so synonymous with vodka as Russia and the political powers that be have not been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Moscow's powerful mayor and a close ally of Putin, Yury Luzhkov, has even promised to open a vodka museum near Moscow's Kristall Distillery, during the celebrations. ''Russian vodka is acclaimed throughout the world and the public must celebrate the jubilee,'' he said.
But Russia's vodka industry remains in chaos. I saw one report this week that said that up to 65% of all vodka consumed in the country was produced illegally. On top of this the fight for the leading trademarks in the country goes on, with Soyuzplodoimport (the government-owned body) running things domestically, but SPI (the private business) controlling the rights abroad.
Perhaps, with celebrations underway, it was no coincidence that a flurry of claims and counter claims came out this week. But there were statements of intent by both sides about controlling the brand names abroad. SPI claimed victory in a Dutch court recognised them as the rightful owner of Moskovskaya. However, almost at the same time a story appeared claiming Soyuzplodoimport would begin exports to Romania at the end of October.
Could this dispute affect 500 years of heritage? Probably not, but much water (and even a little blood) has passed under the bridge of the Volga since 1503, perhaps in the interests of the industry in the next 500 years a little more should be allowed to pass.
Heavy metal legend Bruce Dickinson - lead singer of the band Iron Maiden, for the unitiated - is clearly a man not afraid to get his hands dirty. ...
The homebrewing revival continues in the UK - and evidence has come that even the supermarket chains are taking it semi-seriously. ...
Does Pernod Ricard have something to hide? In a press conference after the release of full-year results today, only a quarter of the 100 minutes were given over to questions from journalists....
Here's a round-up of the top stories on just-drinks last week, featuring Carlsberg, Heineken, Coca-Cola Amatil, California's winelands and Cognac....
- The End of the Road for International Beer Brands?
- Comment - Another One Bites Bacardi's Dust
- Allegro: The shape of things to come at Pernod?
- Pernod Ricard's FY Performance by Region, Brand
- US craft vodka puts squeeze on Pernod's Absolut
- Mast-Jägermeister targets UK off-trade boost
- Pernod bemoans tough FY as sales, profits drop
- ASA bans Jägermeister TV ad
- Bacardi announces CFO switch
- SABMiller exec to become CFO at Beam Suntory