With the Russian invasion of Ukraine making headlines this week, it's no surprise that local businesses might be announcing boycotts of Russian products, with the most obvious products to boycott being vodka. MLive reports a Grand Rapids bar is doing just that. But before we do any boycotting, we need to do our homework. While Smirnoff, maybe the biggest name in vodkas sounds Russian, and its roots are, the brand is actually owned by a British company, Diaego, and has been made here in the United States, since about the end of Prohibition.
And what's more, when the brand signed up actor Ted Danson as spokesperson about five years ago, the point of the campaign was "made in America." Another funny thing. Smirnoff is corporately related to Guinness.
Now, let's take a look at Stoly or Stolichnaya Vodka. Now, if you're hell-bent on boycotting a Russian vodka, there are more than a few from which you can choose. The ownership is a bit fuzzy, but it appears Stoly is owned by a Russian billionaire. Then there's Russian Standard, Beluga and Zyr. The first two appear to still be made in Siberia, Zyr uses water from Finland but it sound like it's Russian, too. Add to that Jewel of Russia, Husky and Mamont Siberian Vodka. Yup, Russian.
And don't even think about Absolut. Absolut is a Swedish vodka.
Here's the tricky part in all this: with corporate ownership and manufacturing being happening all over the planet, it's like foreign cars - what's foreign and what's American. And that question is even more apropos now that Bell's Beer is ultimately owned by a Japanese conglomerate.