By Joshua Kirby


Vodka brand Absolut will stop exports to Russia amid an outcry in its home nation of Sweden, it said Tuesday.

The brand, owned by French giant Pernod Ricard SA, acknowledged criticism in Sweden where politicians had called for a boycott after it resumed shipments to Russia.

"I think that many consumers think that it is very strange behavior," Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told the country's TV4 channel.

Absolut boss Stephanie Durroux pointed to its duty of care to employees and partners. "We cannot expose them to massive criticism in all forms," she said.

"The Absolut company has decided to stop the export of its brand to Russia," she said.

Pernod Ricard, which also counts Jameson whiskey and Martell cognac among its brands, has reduced its activity and stopped all marketing spending in Russia, Ms. Durroux said. It has however maintained limited supply to ensure the viability of its distribution subsidiary in the country, she said.

"Pernod Ricard has [therefore] been able to protect its local team from any local criminal liability, relating to 'intentional bankruptcy' in particular," Ms. Durroux said.

Absolut, the world's sixth-largest spirits brand according to Pernod Ricard, said however that resuming direct shipments wouldn't prevent the brand from being sold by third parties in Russia, noting that the parallel market has grown strongly in recent months.


Write to Joshua Kirby at; @joshualeokirby


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 18, 2023 10:04 ET (14:04 GMT)

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