Stolichnaya Says Boycott Lofted By Gays Had "Minimal Effect"
A boycott of Russian-connected vodkas championed by high profile gay men such as Dan Savage and in reaction to the country's heinous anti-gay law had "minimal impact," at least as far as the Stolichnaya brand is concerned.
A new report from the SPI Group, which owns Stoli, details the failure.
Speaking to just-drinks, SPI's CMO Marco Ferrari said some US accounts stopped selling Stolichnaya but that the protest - a retaliation against anti-homosexual legislation in Russia - “didn't really get any traction” in other markets. Most of the US accounts soon returned to serving the vodka, Ferrari said.
The boycott started in the US in July after authorities in Russia introduced a ban on "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”. In response to the protest, SPI Group CEO Val Mendeleev wrote an open letter to the global LGBT community criticising the new laws.
There was “a little bit of anger”, Ferrari said, within the company to the boycott because it linked SPI Group with official Russian policy. SPI, which is based in Luxembourg, bottles Stolichnaya in Latvia using Russian ingredients. It is involved in a long-running dispute over ownership of Stolichnaya with Russia, where a different company owns the rights to the brand.