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LGBTQ-Embracing Stoli Vodka Rebrands In Face of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Stoli queer marking images

Stolichnaya, the spirit once branded as "the only vodka imported from Russia" is turning its back on those roots in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Better known as Stoli, the company that produces the spirit relocated after the fall of the USSR, and changed its tagline from Russian Vodka to Premium Vodka in 2010. 

It is now made in Latvia, although with many Russian indredients. USA Today reports that, following  Russia's attack on Ukraine, Stoli has said it will engage exclusively with "Slovakian sources to further ensure 100% non-Russian alpha grade spirit."

The brand will officially drop the Stolichnaya name in favor of Stoli.

In a statement to the press, Stoli Group Global CEO Damian McKinney  the company's employees, partners and distributors are asking the brand to take a stand. "This is one actionable, meaningful thing we can do to make it clear that we support Ukraine," McKinney said in a statement.

Since at least 2010 the brand has supported the queer community with ads and packaging that celebrated Pride, LGBTQ+ people, and icons like Harvey Milk. In 2019 Rolling Stone reported that Stoli has donated more than $5 million to the LGBTQ community over the years.

 

Stoli Guy 2013
Stoli's 2013 marketing campaign launched a competition for a gay Stoli guy

 

In 2013, the brand launced a marketing  campaign seeking "The Most Original Stoli Guy" through competitions at gay bars.  Billy Cavallo won the competition and became Stoli's national LGBT ambassador.

 

Stoli's 2018 Loud & Clear ads featured lesbian couple

In 2018, the brand's marketing campaign Loud & Clear featured a lesbian couple.

That same year, it released a limited edition bottle with Harvey Milk saying "We will not be silent!"

Stoli 2018 Harvey Milk

 

Although we would have liked to have seen this move away from Russia come in response to that country's repression of LGBTQ+ people, we're still glad to see it now. 

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