The Whisky Industry Responds to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, an increasing number of food and drink firms have stopped exporting to Russia, including three of the whisky industry’s biggest players.
Edrington, Chivas Brothers, and Diageo have all ceased Scotch whisky exports to Russia. This comes just a week after SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes urged Scottish businesses to take a stand against Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by cutting off their trade supply.
In an open letter to Scottish businesses, she stated: “We all have a moral duty right now to consider what else we can do to impact on the Russian economy, cripple Putin’s economy and ultimately try to stop at Putin’s aggression in relation to Ukraine.”
Various other Scottish companies have already suspended trade activities with Russia, including Walker’s Shortbread, Caramel Log maker Tunnock’s, and producer of Irn-Bru AG Barr.
The Scotch Whisky Market in Russia
Russia is an important Scotch whisky market that is experiencing rapid growth, so Erdington, Chivas Brothers, and Diageo have undoubtedly recognised their “moral duty” in sacrificing a huge amount of revenue for humanitarian purposes.
In 2021, according to figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Russia was the tenth largest export market by volume. With an increase of 40% from the previous year, Scotch whisky exports to Russia were worth around £28m.
Comments from the Whisky Industry
Following their decision to stop trading with Russia, Chivas stated: “Our utmost priority is the safety of our colleagues and their families. This has been our focus from the very beginning. We closed our offices in Ukraine very early and suspended our sales a few days ago in Russia.”
They added, “We are making an immediate donation to UNHCR in order to support their work in delivering essential humanitarian help to people in need. We have also offered our employees to collect their individual donations and the Group will double the amount collected in favour of UNHCR.”
Chivas is the Scotch whisky business of the Pernod Ricard Group and produces the iconic Chivas Regal.
Edrington, whose portfolio includes Macallan and Highland Park, said: “Edrington suspended all shipments to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all those displaced and suffering as a result of this crisis. Through our charitable giving fund, we are committed to supporting our employees worldwide in their efforts to help international humanitarian charities.”
Diageo, producers of Johnnie Walker, Talisker, and many others, stated: “We have already paused the export of our products to Ukraine and Russia while we focus on supporting our employees and the humanitarian relief effort.”
The whisky industry and Scotland as a whole are certainly playing their part in the fight against Putin’s invasion of Russia.
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