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.
Some people in India believe alcohol should be more difficult to purchase. Last month, the state of Bihar halted all alcohol sales as its chief minister made good on an election promise. ...
Greetings from Zurich. Here as a guest of Heineken's Amstel brand, I'm due to sit down later today with the group's senior global director for international brands, Walter Drenth....
Drinks companies spend a lot of money on trying to predict trends. At last night's Worshipful Company of Distillers City debate, any strategists in the audience got a bit of forecasting for free....
I'll admit to being partial to an Aperol Spritz now and again, more usually in the summer months, sitting outside, shades on, slowly turning more golden/rusty....
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