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Stolichnaya

Stolichnaya Vodka is pretty famous. And if it’s famous for anything, it’s famous for being Russian. For decades it has been glammed up as The Russian Vodka.

Over the past one to two years, however, Stoli has pretty much walked away from its Russian origin. The label on the right, from 2009, proudly proclaims Stoli’s Russian heritage and origin. By contrast, the label on the left, from 2010, sidesteps this issue. The more recent back label shows that the product is made in Latvia rather than Russia. Russia and Latvia are nextdoor neighbors, and were one and the same until Latvia regained its independence in 1991. Still, this is a big change and presents a tricky marketing challenge — that would seem to be tantamount to moving Jack Daniels production from Lynchburg to Los Angeles or Guadalajara. For such a big brand (with sales estimated near $2 billion per year) there has been surprisingly little press coverage of this issue. Back in 2006, Businessweek attempted to sort out this tale of international intrigue:

So what exactly is the row about this time? When the Russian government stripped S.P.I. of its right to the Stolichnaya brand in 2002, it also banned the company from exporting Stolichnaya vodka from Russia. That’s when S.P.I. responded by moving the bottling of Stolichnaya to Latvijas Balzams distillery in Latvia. Yet the Stolichnaya on sale in the U.S. continues to be labeled as “genuine Russian vodka.” S.P.I. and Allied Domecq testified in the U.S. court that the vodka continues to be produced in Russia, at distilleries in Kaliningrad and Tambov.

The 2010 approval also caught our eye because of the strange pairing of Baltic-Region flavored vodka with Hugh Hefner and his bunny.

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flavored vodka


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Tiger Blood

This, quite apparently, is what Charlie Sheen has been drinking. It is Tiger Blood Vodka, made in Hungary. No word on whether it’s the source of the Adonis DNA. The evidence is here.

Fox says the real Tiger Blood is something along the lines of mangosteen — a fruit we covered about a year ago.

Editor’s Note:  nothing in this post should be regarded as curative, therapeutic, advisable or serious.

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alcohol beverages generally, vodka


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Caricatures

Holy smokes, change really is afoot at TTB. I was startled to see these wine labels recently, with various and sundry famous politicians emblazoned all upon them, and not in the most flattering light. I suppose there is some extra latitude for parody- or caricature-type speech, and there certainly is or ought to be latitude as to political speech. But often in the past, TTB has disallowed presidentially-oriented labels. Just two years ago, the line was drawn here, as to President Obama, and this one seemed to go too far.

The abstraction, in these caricatures, seems to help, as does the absence of the full names. The Horizon Cellars Winery, of Siler City, North Carolina has a large series of the labels depicted above. We already pointed to various labels with Former President George Bush and Sarah Palin in the past, so today we elected to highlight Former Vice President Dick Cheney, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Former President Bill Clinton.

But there are other reasons to revel in these labels. Any discussion of Joe Biden would be embarrassingly remiss without a fond recollection of that storied day when Joe Biden washed his Trans Am, in cutoffs and no shirt, out back behind the White House.

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wine


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Rum with a Dash of Porn

Here is Ron Jeremy’s “Adult Rum.” It is imported by One Eyed Spirits, of Texas.

John was going to say something witty here. But, upon reflection, we should not touch it with or without a ten foot pole.

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rum


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Seagram

The Seagram name still carries a lot of weight, even though the company got obliterated about ten years ago. Wiki says The Seagram Company Ltd. (headquartered in Montreal, Canada) became “defunct” in 2000. Until then it was “the world’s largest producer and distributor of spirits and wines.”

The brands live on. TTB’s database shows more than 500 approvals, with the brand name “Seagram,” within the past three years. This excludes famous brands formerly owned by Seagram, such as Chivas, Crown Royal, Martell, Captain Morgan, etc.

The City of Waterloo’s history makes the point that “like so many success stories,” Joseph E. Seagram’s early success was “almost accidental.” Joseph was asked to look after an Ontario grain mill, back in 1864, while the owner traveled to Europe. The main business was grinding flour. Distilling was a side issue, to use up excess grain, but Seagram began buying out his colleagues and shifting production from flour to spirits. The Bronfman family acquired Joseph E. Seagram & Sons in 1928. In another “almost accidental” quirk of history, “Bronfman” means “liquor man” in Yiddish.

Here is a great song that happens to feature Seagram (in a not entirely flattering light). It is Uncle Lloyd by Darrell Scott. The pertinent lyrics explain:

He and Dad would spend their evening
Sitting in lawn chairs in the yard
Where they’d drink a toast to Seagram’s
Seagram’s never went down hard

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alcohol beverages generally


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