The maker of Stolichnaya vodka announced a major rebranding on Friday, in direct response to its founder’s “vehement stance” against Putin’s regime and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The vodka, known as Russian, will now be sold and marketed simply as Stoli, the company said in a statement.
The founder of the Stoli Group, Russian-born billionaire Yuri Shefler, was exiled from that country in 2000 because of his opposition to Putin. The liquor has long been marketed as Russian vodka, but its production facilities have been in Latvia since this year. Stoli Group is a unit of the Luxembourg group SPI.
The company also cited the willingness of its employees to act and faithfully represent the Latvian roots of vodka.
Earlier this week, the Stoli Group announced that it would only use Slovak sources to ensure that none of its ingredients come from Russia.
State officials from Ohio to New Hampshire have called on liquor stores to remove Russian-made or Russian-branded products from their shelves — which in most cases means Vodka. Some bar owners even have dropped Vodka Stoli in protest.
However, these boycotts and protests are unlikely to have much impact. Russian-made vodka accounts for only a very small percentage of the approximately $7 billion in annual vodka sales, according to the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), a national trade organization that represents spirits manufacturers.
In the United States, less than 1% of the vodka consumed is produced in Russia. More than half of the vodka consumed in the country is actually made in the USA, according to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, a global company that tracks alcohol sales.
CNN’s Jordan Valinsky contributed to this story.