Pernod Ricard is suspending exports of its Absolut vodka to Russia, effective immediately.
The news follows recent reports around Pernod’s decision to restart shipments to the country amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Absolut Company CEO, Stephanie Durroux, said in a statement that Pernod’s primary consideration since the beginning of the conflict “has always been and remains the welfare of its teams in the region, their individual safety and that of their families”.
The news that shipments had been resumed sparked criticism in Sweden, where the vodka is made, and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he was “very surprised” to learn of the decision, according to Aljazeera.
Sweden’s government has spoken openly about its support of Ukraine in the war against Russia. Speaking at the recent European Humanitarian Forum, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tobias Billström, said that this “remains an absolute priority” for the country.
Since March 2022, Pernod’s activity in Russia has been “strongly reduced, and marketing investments have been stopped,” Durroux said in the statement.
She added: “However, the reaction over recent days is clearly reflective of the role Absolut plays for its extended community in Sweden. We acknowledge the significance of these long-standing and trusting relationships with our Swedish employees, partners, consumers and Swedish society at large.”
Durroux noted, however, that the decision will “not prevent Absolut from falling into the hands of the parallel market, which has strongly increased in recent months and over which we have no control”.
Meanwhile, the French spirit group’s application to renew its liquor sale license in New Delhi has been rejected.
In court documents filed in November, India’s Enforcement Directorate said that Pernod India provided corporate guarantees worth 2 billion rupees ($25 million) in 2021 to its banker HSBC. The brewing company then asked it to facilitate loans to retailers, who used the funds to bid for liquor store licences in New Delhi.
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