Beefeater Gin Owner Pernod Ricard Faces Backlash Over Decision to Continue Exporting Spirits to Russia
Spirits giant Pernod Ricard, the owner of Beefeater Gin, has announced it will resume exporting its products to Russia after halting exports in March 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to Daily Mail, the decision has sparked outrage among U.K. politicians and campaigners who argue that the move contradicts the interests of the people of Ukraine.
Simon Fell, co-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on fair business banking, stated the move was “astonishingly poor” and would rightly cause “huge upset,” per the report.
However, Pernod Ricard maintains that this is not “business as usual.” The company claims that the decision to resume shipments was made on a “limited basis” due to the depletion of pre-existing stock in Russia, The Spirits Business reported. Pernod Ricard also stated that it stands with the people of Ukraine after Russia’s unjustifiable war on the country, and is surpassing international sanctions to ensure the safety of its teams.
Nevertheless, the Moral Ratings Agency has criticized the move as “disgusting and ironic.”
“The Beefeater sales will be supporting the Russian economy that pays for the murder of Ukrainians,” Mark Dixon, of the Moral Rating Agency said, per the report. “Anyone who drinks Beefeater is complicit in supporting Putin’s regime and war.”
The decision has also led to a call to boycott Pernod Ricard’s Irish whiskey brand, Jameson, which followed a similar backlash from Swedish consumers in response to Absolut Vodka resuming supply trade to Russia. As a result, Pernod Ricard suspended exports of the Sweden-based spirit to Russia.
Pernod Ricard added that it has reduced marketing investments, decreased the number of brands it imports into Russia and reduced the quantities sold to avoid accusations of fraudulent bankruptcy and criminal prosecution of its staff, according to Daily Mail reporting.
“It is important to note that both the number of brands and the quantity sold of each have been strongly reduced across the portfolio, including the removal of Absolut as you have seen,” a spokesperson for Pernod Ricard told The Spirits Business.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely with the protection of our local teams in the region of paramount importance.”
Commenting on the decision, according to Daily Mail, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Alicia Kearns said, “Pernod Ricard profiting from an aggressor state responsible for war crimes is shameful.”
“What will it take for them [the company] to be shamed into doing the right thing? Pictures of Wagner fighters and Russian war criminals drinking Beefeater Gin in illegally occupied Ukraine?”
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