And no-one should imply otherwise…
Roustam Tariko, a Russian multimillionaire and the president of Russian Standard, knows how to antagonize his competitors in the vodka market: Imply that they are not Russian.
Imperia Vodka, sold by his company, is distilled and bottled in Russia, a fact that is the centerpiece of the vodka’s first advertising campaign in the United States. The campaign slogan, “Vodka is Russian,” is a veiled jab at vodkas like Stolichnaya, which is distilled in Russia but bottled in – gasp – Latvia.
It is also a challenge to premium vodkas that are popular in the United States, but created outside Russia. Absolut, which was introduced in the United States in 1979, is based in Sweden, and Grey Goose is made in the Cognac region of western France. Imperia was introduced in the United States in 2005 and has sold about 35,000 cases.
“We are reclaiming our territory,” Tariko said during a telephone interview from China. “We are trying to gain as much as possible of the marketplace from other people who are trying to claim that they are Russians. There are a lot of people who are trying hard to sell themselves as Russian vodkas.”
Tariko has tagged Stolichnaya in the past with the accusation that it is less than authentically Russian, even suggesting that its makers “should be proud of their Latvian heritage.”
(click to continue reading Russian vodka maker taking a shot at his competitors – Technology – International Herald Tribune – The New York Times.)
Sipping vodka is an occupation for some, but not me. I can drink a quality vodka without diluting it with fruit juice or whatever, but I still prefer it chilled. A glass of good Scotch can be at room temperature, and enjoyed, but for my palate, not vodka.
If Imperia catches on in the United States, Tariko seems intent on converting Americans to the Russian style of drinking vodka.
“Considering that Americans are now moving away from whiskey, moving away from brown spirits in general, I believe that they will all join Russians who drink vodka straight,” he said. “They will sip it like cognac.”