Stoli Says They are Pro gay and Based in Luxemberg – not Russia

 Towleroad just ran portions of an interview with Stoli CEO  Val Mendeleev.  

Mendeleev described himself as an “ex-Russian” in the interview,
considering that he left the country 20 years ago. He used the same term
to describe SPI’s owner, Yuri Scheffler, and insisted that they both
oppose Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as the country’s
anti-gay policies. He maintained that SPI is “not a Russian company,”
highlighting the fact that the company is headquartered in Luxembourg,
and only operates one distillery in Russia. He did admit that the
company does use Russian ingredients, However, he said that the company
is looking into other sources, but that will unfortunately take time.
“We produce more than 100,000 bottles of Stoli every day…It’s not so
easy to shift production immediately.”

“We were forced to move our headquarters from Russia about 10 years ago.
And this is because we have ongoing litigation with the Russian
government about the ownership of the brand. So, we’re not a friend of
the Russian government. We are not a Russian company. Stoli is not even
allowed to be sold in Russia… [The Russian government] did manage to
grab up the Russian Stoli brand and they have been trying to grab up the
ownership of the global brand. But the international courts in London
and Switzerland understand that this commercial dispute with the Russian
government has political motives. Yuri Scheffler, in early 2000, when
this whole thing started, was supporting political opposition to the new
government that was installed there, and that basically started the
whole dispute.”