Jewish owner drops Russian name “Stolichnaya,” for “Stoli” in opposition to Putin


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

In a statement from Jewish owner Yuri Shefler, Stoli® Group, in direct response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announced the vodka will exclusively be sold and marketed as Stoli. The three driving factors behind the decision are the founder’s vehement position on the Putin regime; the Stoli employees determination to take action; and the desire to accurately represent Stoli’s roots in Latvia.

“While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand,” said Shefler. “Today, we have made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organization. More than anything, I wish for ‘Stoli’ to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine.”

Since Shefler was exiled, Stoli Vodka’s production facilities have been located in Latvia where blending, charcoal column filtration, bottling, packaging and distribution are handled. Earlier this week it was announced that after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stoli would engage exclusively with Slovakian sources to further ensure 100% non-Russian alpha grade spirit.

Outrage over Stoli

The dilemma vexing vodka lovers worldwide began after the Russian invasion. Customers, wanting to show solidarity with Ukraine began boycotting an iconic Russian brand. The hitch: Stoli is made in Latvia, not Russia, by a company whose owner, Shefler, is a Russian Jew with UK and Israeli citizenship. Those not-so-well-known facts are the reason people took their anger at Putin out on Stoli.

“This is very personal to us. As a former Royal Marine Commando, I know all too well the horrors of war,” commented Damian McKinney, Global CEO, Stoli Group. “We have employees, partners and distributors in the region directly impacted. They are asking that we take a bold stand. This is one actionable, meaningful thing we can do to make it clear that we support Ukraine.”

To further support Ukraine, Stoli has made a financial commitment to World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-profit organization that is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to climate, humanitarian, and community crises. The support will go directly to relief in Ukraine. As the company continues to work with partners in the region, further initiatives to address the humanitarian crisis will be announced.