Pernod restarts exports of Beefeater gin to Russia – but Absolut vodka still contraband
The world’s second-largest wine and spirits seller Pernod Ricard has restarted exports to Russia but insists it’s “not business as usual”.
Beefeater gin will once more be drank in Moscow bars following the decision which was condemned by the Moral Rating Agency as “disgusting as it is ironic”.
The company insisted it stands “firmly with the people of Ukraine” following its Russia’s “unjustifiable war” in the country, launched in February 2022.
Following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country, the world’s biggest brands pulled out of Russia as governments across the globe, including the UK, US and in the EU, imposed heavy sanctions.
French firm Pernod Ricard said it goes “beyond application” of international sanctions, and that the primary reason for restarting exports was to “protect our teams.”
A spokesperson said hit was “not business as usual and our decisions were not taken lightly”.
The maker of Absolut vodka added that it “stopped marketing investments” and “strongly reduced the number of brands imported” to the country.
Pernod Ricard added it had cut down the “quantities being sold to the minimum to ensure the economic viability of the company and avoid an accusation of ‘fraudulent bankruptcy and potential criminal prosecution for our local affiliate or employees.’
The spirit-maker added that it is supporting local teams to ensure their welfare.
It said Pernod Ricard suspended exports to Russia following invasion – but when the pre-existing stock in the market ran low toward the end of 2022, Pernod Ricard resumed limited exports at a massively reduced volume.
The firm said “many companies” are in a similar position, and that it would be hard to find a brand which does not have a presence in the country, often because products are brought in beyond their control.
“The Beefeater sales will be supporting the Russian economy that pays for the murder of Ukrainians. Anyone who drinks Beefeater is complicit in supporting Putin’s regime and war”, Mark Dixon, Moral Ratings Agency founder said.