@fakedansavage...you know Stoli is made in Latvia, right? It's not Russian at all.
— PeterKA (@esto_can) August 2, 2013
Is SPI-owned Stoli a Russian vodka? Or is it a Latvian vodka? I'm on vacation, so I'm going to let a commenter (24PLAY) at Towleroad unpack this:
Anyone who's interested in the actual facts about SPI's involvement in Russia can check out the company's website: spi-group.com.
What information will you find there?
1) Two of SPI's three production facilities are located in Russia (in Perm and Tambov).
2) The distillery in Tambov is Russia's largest.
3) SPI is the world's largest exporter of Russian vodka.
4) While SPI cannot sell Stolichnaya in Russia, it does sell a long list of other vodka brands that it produces
5) The company purchases 85,000 tons of Russian grain per year.
6) SPI's agricultural subsidiary, Raduga, farms 3,700 hectares of land in Russia.
7) Besides its production facilities and farmland, SPI has other significant real estate holdings in Russia.
What won't you find on SPI's website?
1) The rainbow-colored statement of LGBT solidarity that currently appears on the homepage of stoli.com.
2) Any record of the company having spoken out against LGBT bigotry (or in favor of equality) in Russia prior to the boycott.
3) Any indication that employees of SPI and its subsidiaries who work in Russia are covered by a corporate nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
4) Any indication that same-sex spouses or partners of employees in Russia are eligible for any of the benefits that are available to opposite-sex spouses.
Says a friend who sent that comment along:
Sounds like SPI benefitted monetarily for years riding the fence, taking advantage of both sides—they worked hard to maintain the illusion of the history and prestige associated with Russian vodka, while making subtle changes to their labeling and working through the courts and behind the scenes to distance themselves from the russian government, hoping no one would notice. If this is the case, didn't their actions, aimed at maximizing revenue and lowering risk, bring the boycott on themselves?
All that grain SPI farms in Russia and purchases in Russia? They make Stoli with it. And here's SPI maintaining the illusion of the history and prestige associated with Russian vodka...
Also, too, from DailyKos: Latvia, Shmatvia. Okay! Back to my ill-timed vacation.
UPDATE: There's a demonstration in Seattle tonight. Info after the jump...
Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea), in cooperation with Cleve Jones, is proud to announce the Seattle response to the anti-LGBT violence in Russia.
DATE: Friday, August 2, 2013
TIME: 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
LOCATION: Seattle Central Community College 1701 Broadway
We will rally in the plaza facing Broadway. Bring your signs, banners and friends. This will be a peaceful protest in response to the anti-LGBT violence in Russia.
At the rally you can:
- SIGN a banner that will be sent to the Consulate General to the Russian Federation in Seattle, asking them to halt the government backed anti-LGBT violence in Russia.
- SIGN a solidarity banner that will be shipped to a Russian LGBT advocacy organization.
BEFORE the rally you can:
- Record a short, 5 - 10 second video message for the LGBT community in Russia, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, so it can be included with others and posted on our website and Youtube channel.
Guest speakers and supporting organizations will be named as soon as we get everything organized.