Stoli CEO, Speaks Out On Gay Community's Vodka Boycott

  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jul 31, 2013 11:42 PM GMT
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/stoli-vodka-gay-boycott_n_3682365.html
    r-STOLI-VODKA-GAY-BOYCOTT-large570.jpg?6

    " in response to the Russian government’s anti-gay crackdown, the CEO of the company that owns the iconic “Stoli” brand insisted that his company is “not a Russian company,” even as he confirmed that the company operates a distillery in Russia, that “several hundred” of its 2,500 employees are in Russia and that it obtains its ingredients from Russia."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:15 AM GMT
    From an interview in Late May with SPI chief executive Val Mendeleev when he was trying to play up the Russian connection with the brand:
    http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2013/05/sb-interviews-val-mendeleev-spi-group/2/

    "One thing that makes Stoli unique among its peers, is that the company doesn’t just own the brand, it owns the wheat fields to produce the vodka. “The Stoli Group is vertically integrated,” he explains. “The grain is 100% Russian and we have thousands of hectares of land 400 kilometres south of Moscow.” Here it is made into raw alcohol in SPI’s brand new US$100m distillery and then refined into Stoli in Latvia where the company owns a historic distillery in Riga that has been making vodka since 1948. “The system means you really know the cost structure and can ensure consistent high quality standards.”

    If you listen to them now its as if the company has little to do with Russia. I don't know if a boycott is necessarily the the correct answer, but since when this story first broke their response was to highlight their support of lgbt people. And it is true that they have been very supportive of lgbt organizations and events in North America, many European countries, and Australia. Oddly one place where they did not do this was the country of Russia. At the very least, this company should be encouraged to offer the same type of support they give elsewhere in the world to the country where they have manufacturing plants and farms and employ hundreds of people
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:22 AM GMT
    Iceblink said... At the very least, this company should be encouraged to offer the same type of support they give elsewhere in the world to the country where they have manufacturing plants and farms and employ hundreds of people


    In this interview he says they intend to fund activists in Russia to work towards changing the government's policy.

    By this interview it sounds like the boycott is misdirected.

    And it's not as if they went into Russia after these policies against us were put in place, rather they were already there when Russia became officially so anti-gay.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:24 AM GMT
    somersault saidwhy? I'd boycott everything from Russia


    Including our shared space station?

    Meanwhile, my greatgrandparents were from Russia. I hope this doesn't effect my getting laid.
  • offshore

    Posts: 1294

    Aug 01, 2013 12:31 AM GMT
    somersault saidwhy? I'd boycott everything from Russia


    Including this?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:38 AM GMT
    I'm pretty sure Stoli's manufacturing has nothing to do with Russia. People are boycotting the wrong thing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:48 AM GMT
    theantijock said
    Iceblink said... At the very least, this company should be encouraged to offer the same type of support they give elsewhere in the world to the country where they have manufacturing plants and farms and employ hundreds of people


    In this interview he says they intend to fund activists in Russia to work towards changing the government's policy.

    By this interview it sounds like the boycott is misdirected.

    And it's not as if they went into Russia after these policies against us were put in place, rather they were already there when Russia became officially so anti-gay.

    True, a boycott is probably not the answer, but until Mendeleev's announcement in this latest interview, they were not offering that kind of support to lgbt people in Russia. It is a welcome development and it only came about because they were called on it when they were highlighting their lgbt support around the world in response to this boycott.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:58 AM GMT
    Iceblink said
    theantijock said
    Iceblink said... At the very least, this company should be encouraged to offer the same type of support they give elsewhere in the world to the country where they have manufacturing plants and farms and employ hundreds of people


    In this interview he says they intend to fund activists in Russia to work towards changing the government's policy.

    By this interview it sounds like the boycott is misdirected.

    And it's not as if they went into Russia after these policies against us were put in place, rather they were already there when Russia became officially so anti-gay.

    True, a boycott is probably not the answer, but until Mendeleev's announcement in this latest interview, they were not offering that kind of support to lgbt people in Russia. It is a welcome development and it only came about because they were called on it when they were highlighting their lgbt support around the world in response to this boycott.


    It also sounded like he's simply not very up on our issues. Assuming honesty in the interview, he didn't even know that his own company already had inclusive policies here. Of course much of that interview was marketing (damage control) but I didn't get the sense that he's anything but a friend of our community.
  • LuckyGuyKC

    Posts: 2080

    Aug 01, 2013 1:01 AM GMT
    Ketel One ..... no need to worry about the Dutch 90% of ethnic Dutch people in the Netherlands view homosexuality as moral.
    ketel-one-logo.png
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:18 PM GMT
    tito-s-handmade-vodka-3825_jpg_1200x1200

    Try Tito's Vodka if you have an issue on Russian Vodka. Made in the US, great taste and cheaper than other popular brands.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 12:23 PM GMT
    theantijock said
    somersault saidwhy? I'd boycott everything from Russia


    Including our shared space station?

    Meanwhile, my greatgrandparents were from Russia. I hope this doesn't effect my getting laid.



    We are not boycotting their people but their economy. That is the only language that governments understand. Under that premise, I promise you, you will cotinue to get laid.

    Stoli can claim to be as gay friendly as they want to be but this is not about them, this is about the Russian economy which they fuel through the purchase of goods for their Vodka. Unless they are actually using some of their money to promote homsexualiy in Russia (just like in the West) all I keep hearing is : "PLEASE KEEP GIVING ME MONEY!"
  • madsexy

    Posts: 4843

    Aug 01, 2013 1:32 PM GMT
    It's sad when people don't do their homework. The end-effect of a boycott of Stoli outside Russia will be an impact to SPI's workers in Russia.

    But the boycott MAY have prompted the SPI execs to make the contribution to the LGBT rights group? Still if poor workers are affected because of decreased demand, is our cause's benefit worth their misfortune?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 1:34 PM GMT
    I agree with you both. I think we need to be concerned about the goal of the effort to help the LGBT community in Russia. I'm concerned that a boycott is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    SPI was already transitioning their facilities out of Russia and is not government owned. The resources used from Russia are minimal, and a boycott would have little impact on the government.

    SPI has agreed to provide funds to help the Russian LGBT community. They are a long standing ally to the LGBT community and have helped to empower us in the US. It is this very power that allows us to take action against injustices here and abroad. We need to continue working with them to find ways they can help us support the Russian LGBT community.

    I think Putin would be amused by how easily we turn on our allies for an effort that has little to no impact in Russia.


    Iceblink said
    theantijock said
    Iceblink said... At the very least, this company should be encouraged to offer the same type of support they give elsewhere in the world to the country where they have manufacturing plants and farms and employ hundreds of people


    In this interview he says they intend to fund activists in Russia to work towards changing the government's policy.

    By this interview it sounds like the boycott is misdirected.

    And it's not as if they went into Russia after these policies against us were put in place, rather they were already there when Russia became officially so anti-gay.

    True, a boycott is probably not the answer, but until Mendeleev's announcement in this latest interview, they were not offering that kind of support to lgbt people in Russia. It is a welcome development and it only came about because they were called on it when they were highlighting their lgbt support around the world in response to this boycott.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 2:29 PM GMT
    creyente saidI think Putin would be amused by how easily we turn on our allies for an effort that has little to no impact in Russia.


    Well put in making the point and that's likely how a critic or enemy would call it but I don't believe the boycott a response to any sense of betrayal of an ally. Though as you note this community's response in being reactionary and not thoughtful does play into that hand.

    It's like feeling something suddenly crawl on your skin and immediately taking a swipe to brush it off without looking first when you might have found a lady bug there.

    Russia's hurting us. For years Stoli bottles did say "Russian Vodka". For years the Russian state pretty much owned everything Russian. Stoli is served in gay bars. It was not an unnatural reaction. But a second thought here is required.

    stolichnaya_russian_vodka__46080.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 2:49 PM GMT
    charlitos said
    theantijock said
    somersault saidwhy? I'd boycott everything from Russia


    Including our shared space station?

    Meanwhile, my greatgrandparents were from Russia. I hope this doesn't effect my getting laid.



    We are not boycotting their people but their economy. That is the only language that governments understand. Under that premise, I promise you, you will cotinue to get laid.

    Stoli can claim to be as gay friendly as they want to be but this is not about them, this is about the Russian economy which they fuel through the purchase of goods for their Vodka. Unless they are actually using some of their money to promote homsexualiy in Russia (just like in the West) all I keep hearing is : "PLEASE KEEP GIVING ME MONEY!"


    I'm going to have to test your theory. Though years ago I'd have had a Stoli on the rocks before heading out so everyone else would look better. Now at this age I wait for them to have a few Stoli's first so I don't look so bad. It was more fun when I was the one with a cocktail.

    Actually this is a little bit about them especially per creyente's post so no need here to repeat that. Also per Iceblink's post about them having vertical ownership of their supply line which would minimize any effect, were even the efforts properly directed about which I have serious doubts. Madsexy's point on such a boycott hurting also poor people is regrettable but were the boycott properly directed then that would fall into the same category as your notion of collateral damage be damned.

    My sense of this is not so much collateral damage upon the enemy's side but hitting our own operatives with friendly fire. But that's hard to judge particularly where they now state they will provide funds within Russia to lobby against the anti-gay policy, but since gay is illegal then they wouldn't be able to announce who they fund there without endangering them. In that respect, they should also publicly fund groups like Amnesty International to make support publicly known.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 2:49 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]charlitos said[/cite]


    We are not boycotting their people but their economy. /quote]

    You should actually add the Russian government to that concept, as they did arrest and send Pussy Riot to jail for being a lesbian punk band.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 2:55 PM GMT
    I agree with you. I don't believe the boycott is in response to a betrayal. While an understandable reaction I do think that in boycotting this particular vendor we are working against our interest.

    I think opening discussions with this company is a better way to go at this point. If we find there is a real reason to boycott the company then we should do so. However it seems it would be ineffective to boycott SPI to get to Russia. Using SPI's money to effect change in Russia and assist the LGBT community would seem to be far more productive.

    theantijock
    Well put in making the point and that's likely how a critic or enemy would call it but I don't believe the boycott a response to any sense of betrayal of an ally. Though as you note this community's response in being reactionary and not thoughtful does play into that hand.

    It's like feeling something suddenly crawl on your skin and immediately taking a swipe to brush it off without looking first when you might have found a lady bug there.

    Russia's hurting us. For years Stoli bottles did say "Russian Vodka". For years the Russian state pretty much owned everything Russian. Stoli is served in gay bars. It was not an unnatural reaction. But a second thought here is required.

  • Montague

    Posts: 5205

    Aug 01, 2013 3:03 PM GMT
    Drink rum.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 3:11 PM GMT
    LuckyGuyKC saidKetel One ..... no need to worry about the Dutch 90% of ethnic Dutch people in the Netherlands view homosexuality as moral.
    ketel-one-logo.png

    This works for me….love Ketel One! With soda and lime please!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 01, 2013 4:34 PM GMT
    somersault saidDo they distill the Gays there?


    No. I believe the Gays are distilled in Barbados.

    mount_gay_rum_tour.jpg

    Boycott redirected:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Barbados
    Homosexual acts are illegal in Barbados, with a life sentence; but the law is rarely enforced. The law is currently in effect, but under review
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2013 12:47 AM GMT
    theantijock said
    charlitos said
    theantijock said
    somersault saidwhy? I'd boycott everything from Russia


    Including our shared space station?

    Meanwhile, my greatgrandparents were from Russia. I hope this doesn't effect my getting laid.



    We are not boycotting their people but their economy. That is the only language that governments understand. Under that premise, I promise you, you will cotinue to get laid.

    Stoli can claim to be as gay friendly as they want to be but this is not about them, this is about the Russian economy which they fuel through the purchase of goods for their Vodka. Unless they are actually using some of their money to promote homsexualiy in Russia (just like in the West) all I keep hearing is : "PLEASE KEEP GIVING ME MONEY!"


    I'm going to have to test your theory. Though years ago I'd have had a Stoli on the rocks before heading out so everyone else would look better. Now at this age I wait for them to have a few Stoli's first so I don't look so bad. It was more fun when I was the one with a cocktail.

    Actually this is a little bit about them especially per creyente's post so no need here to repeat that. Also per Iceblink's post about them having vertical ownership of their supply line which would minimize any effect, were even the efforts properly directed about which I have serious doubts. Madsexy's point on such a boycott hurting also poor people is regrettable but were the boycott properly directed then that would fall into the same category as your notion of collateral damage be damned.

    My sense of this is not so much collateral damage upon the enemy's side but hitting our own operatives with friendly fire. But that's hard to judge particularly where they now state they will provide funds within Russia to lobby against the anti-gay policy, but since gay is illegal then they wouldn't be able to announce who they fund there without endangering them. In that respect, they should also publicly fund groups like Amnesty International to make support publicly known.



    I know the direct economic implications of boycotting a product will probably have no effect whatsoever in the economy of a nation like Russia. Think of it this way: We are talking about a well known Russian brand, something craved internationally by many. What are the consequences of boycotting Stoli, a product that Russia is popularly known for?

    1 - Bartenders will be asked why they are no longer selling Russian Vodka, at that point they will have to explain to the customer that they are boycotting Russian products because of their new anti-gay laws. You would be surprised of how many people dont even know about this right now. Boycotting a popular brand will help spread the word faster and make people aware of this issue.

    2 - Stoli will be under boycott pressure and likely than not they will make a desperate move in order to prove they are on the side of the Russian LGBT.; either by donating/sponsoring LGBT groups in Russia or by expressing their opposition in a way that matters.

    3 - The people affected by this boycott definitely dont deserve the economic impact but I think the lives of millions of Russia's living in fear for the rest of their lives takes priority here.

    4 - It is not just about Stoli, but its a damn good place to start. I have donated to LGBT groups in Russia, I am definitely boycotting their products for a matter of principle more than anything else. I see it as option A or B. A being a product coming from homophobia land or product B coming from a better place. It really isnt that difficult.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2013 12:58 AM GMT
    I agree with Charlitos. SPI Group would not be doing what they what they are doing if the boycott were not having some impact.

    Further, I imagine some young gay Russian now gets to know that gay people around the world knows he exists and cares about his freedom. Maybe this young man feels empowered by this; he organizes a small gay pride parade where all of the participants wear Richard Nixon masks to hide their identities. They walk a couple blocks; the police don't arrest them because the police see no harm in what they are doing. A gay liberation movement is born. Hey, it could happen.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2013 4:02 PM GMT
    charlitos saidI know the direct economic implications of boycotting a product will probably have no effect whatsoever in the economy of a nation like Russia. Think of it this way: We are talking about a well known Russian brand, something craved internationally by many. What are the consequences of boycotting Stoli, a product that Russia is popularly known for?

    1 - Bartenders will be asked why they are no longer selling Russian Vodka, at that point they will have to explain to the customer that they are boycotting Russian products because of their new anti-gay laws. You would be surprised of how many people dont even know about this right now. Boycotting a popular brand will help spread the word faster and make people aware of this issue.

    2 - Stoli will be under boycott pressure and likely than not they will make a desperate move in order to prove they are on the side of the Russian LGBT.; either by donating/sponsoring LGBT groups in Russia or by expressing their opposition in a way that matters.

    3 - The people affected by this boycott definitely dont deserve the economic impact but I think the lives of millions of Russia's living in fear for the rest of their lives takes priority here.

    4 - It is not just about Stoli, but its a damn good place to start. I have donated to LGBT groups in Russia, I am definitely boycotting their products for a matter of principle more than anything else. I see it as option A or B. A being a product coming from homophobia land or product B coming from a better place. It really isnt that difficult.


    There might be times when the ends justifies the means without a loss of integrity. If someone had moral issues with prostitution but found themselves destitute and unable for whatever reason to find what they'd consider legitimate work, then selling sex might not impinge upon the integrity of how they normally conduct their life if it prevents the immediate and greater harm of starving to death. That takes the situation away from questioning integrity and into the realm of adaptability for survival's sake.

    Is this that?

    My problem with formulating an opinion here is that I don't know the facts. Their website locates them headquartered in Russia (merely for the purposes of marketing themselves as a Russian product?) but the interviewee insists they are now based outside (for the purposes of marketing to the gay community?).

    He admits to having facilities there but says they are in the process of dismantling/relocating that. They were there before this bad policy was put into effect. Had they sought out a place homophobic to support with their headquarters, I'd feel differently.

    He also stated that the part of their company, the very Russian-distributed Stoli you wish to attack, was stolen from them in court by Russia and that therefore this company is at odds with Russia. That alone could be impetus for them to piss Russia off by supporting gay rights there without a boycott of them here.

    The owner and I think also the CEO have both expatriated their mother country though I don't know what is their citizenship. I'd imagine people sometimes leave the United States in protest while maintaining citizenship here.

    I know that corporations will say anything. I know this interview was damage control. And I did not like how the interviewer was leading the CEO to answer certain questions in specific ways. At times though it did seem that the CEO didn't understand why he was even in this predicament, that the interviewer believed him innocent and tried to prove the point for him. That was certainly unprofessional on the part of the radio guy. Whether or not it was merely acting on the part of the CEO, I have no idea.

    Not knowing all the facts actually, oddly, would make it easier for me to argue either side of this and so all I can go by is what I think I know at a very surface level and what little I could check on. I could check to see if they discriminate in their company here so I believe the interview when they said they do not.

    The Stoli CEO states that they have a history of supporting gay rights and the gay community and I do not see anyone from our side denying that so I currently have no reason to not believe it.

    Lastly, I do not sacrifice my friends for my benefit. I would rather die than dishonor. And I felt that way even before I was ever betrayed by friends. If this company is a friend of our community, if they are not part of the Russian establishment which is so hell bent on hurting us, then you do not send them out to take the bullet for you. Better to die first then live the life of a betrayer.

    “We must conquer life by living it to the full, and then we can go to meet death with a certain prestige.” ~~Aleister Crowley
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2013 6:14 PM GMT
    Besides a willingness to sell their vodka to anyone and everyone, including gays, what specifically has Stoli done for the gay community?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 02, 2013 7:24 PM GMT
    http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c4621.html
    russiatrade_zpsb617e1bc.gif

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_d_nus_nrs_mbbl_m.htm
    russiacrudeimports_zps4ba6f4c3.gif



    effigy2_1509297c.jpg

    http://gaycitynews.com/actup_disrupts_stoli_splash_bash_july_31_demo_planned_at_russian_consulate/
    Splash-IS.jpg

    Obama-burning.jpg

    http://www.usrussiatrade.org/
    92-4 (Senate Vote No. 223, December 6, 2012)

    365-43 (House Roll Call 608, November 16, 2012)

    THANK YOU, CONGRESS, FOR APPROVING PNTR WITH RUSSIA

    The Members of the Coalition for U.S.-Russia Trade