Pernod Ricard, the owner of the brand Absolut vodka, will start exporting alcohol to Russia again, ending their initial boycott of Russia when the country invaded Ukraine.
But among people in Sweden this move is causing anger. People, politicians and the hospitality sector are all calling for a boycott of Pernod Ricard products.

The news that the global wine and liquor giant Pernod Ricard has started exporting Absolut Vodka to Russia again has caused strong reactions by people, politicians, and the hospitality sector across Sweden.

Pernod Ricard, the owner of the brand Absolut Vodka, will start exporting alcohol to Russia again. For instance, Dagens Nyheter reported that on Absolut vodka’s Facebook page, people expressed their outrage in the comments section. One person commented:

Rotten to trade with Russia. It’s only about money. Will never again buy Pernod’s products.”

Facebook user, reported by Dagens Nyheter

Alcohol giant Pernod Ricard and their brand Absolut Vodka stopped their exports just over a year ago, when Russia invaded Ukraine. But the Absolut company has confirmed that their boycott is now over, according to Sveriges Radio reporting.

Within the framework of the sanctions that prevail, the group delivers products to an extent that can protect local employees and secure the local organization’s financial sustainability.”

Absolut company in e-mail to newspaper Kristianstadsbladet

Calls for boycott of Big Alcohol

People in Sweden are appalled and are calling for a boycott of the alcohol giant.

Several Swedish politicians are calling for a boycott of Absolut vodka after the owner Pernod Ricard started exporting to Russia again.

I think that a great many consumers find it a very strange action,” said Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, as per SvD reporting.

I was quite surprised by this.”

Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister, Sweden

Mr Kristersson added that each individual company has a great responsibility and that European consumers expect it to take that responsibility.

A member of the same governing party of Sweden, Gustaf Göthberg, Member of Parliament for the Moderates party, expressed support for Mr Kristersson’s position, saying he would boycott Absolut vodka, calling the alcohol industry giant “Unprecedentedly spineless”.

The alcohol industry website Just Drinks reported in early April that Absolut vodka’s owner Pernod Ricard was reopening exports to Russia. Exports and imports had been stopped for more than a year.

The explanation for the resumption of sales is, according to Paula Eriksson, communications manager at Absolut Company, that one must “protect local employees and secure the local organization’s financial sustainability.”

But member of the EU Parliament Karin Karlsbro, from the Liberal party, calls the decision “a nice present for Putin,” according to SvD.

Another member of the governing party the Moderates expressed support for a boycott.

Gulan Avci, who is a Member of the Swedish Parliament for the Liberals, calls Pernod Ricard’s decision “incredibly immoral” at a time when Ukraine is literally fighting for its freedom and the democracy of all of Europe.

Joar Forssell, Member of Parliament for the Liberals on parental leave, agrees: “It is insane that any trade with Russia is allowed at all,” he wrote, according to SvD.

And party colleague and Member of the Swedish Parliament Anna Starbrink points to a “moral collapse” at Pernod Ricard:

There is nothing sustainable in doing business with the war criminals in Russia.”

Anna Starbrink, Member of Swedish Parliament, Liberal party

Anders Ygeman, Member of the Swedish Parliament for the Social Democrats – the largest opposition party – wrote briefly: “Absolut Putin”.

Restaurants in major Swedish cities boycott Pernod Ricard

If any restaurant has had any bottles, they have been picked up and are gone. There is no discussion, clearly we boycott,” said Peter Orrmyr, who runs several pubs in Gothenburg, as per Aftonbladet reporting.

Peter Orrmyr, pub owner Gothenburg

After calls from politicians to boycott alcohol giant Pernod Ricard and their Absolut vodka brand, restaurants and bars in Gothenburg – Sweden’s second largest city – are removing Pernod Ricard products from their shelves and menus, according to reporting from Göteborgs-Posten.

We don’t support any assholes. They can get their money and their products sold at other restaurateurs who don’t care,” said Cattis Ledius, according to Aftonbladet.

Cattis Ledius

In capital city Stockholm, restaurants are also boycotting Pernod Ricard and Absolut vodka.

Swedish Brasseries, the company operating classic restaurants such as Riche, Sturehof and Teatergrillen, have decided to completely stop selling Pernod Ricard’s products, as per Expressen reporting.

That’s right,” says restaurateur PG Nilsson, one of the owners of Swedish Brasseries,” as per news agency TT.

PG Nilsson, owner, Swedish Brasserier

These are Stockholm’s luxury restaurants and they are the first to boycott alcohol industry giants Pernod Ricard and Absolut vodka.

This week, bar managers at the respective pubs received information that all of Pernod Ricard’s brands would be taken off the shelves. Since Wednesday, around 29 different products have been removed.

In addition to Absolut vodka, this includes brands such as Jameson Whiskey, Beefeater gin, Havana Club rum, the mint spirit Minttu and many more that will not be sold anymore.

Pernod Ricard is one of the world’s biggest alcohol companies in its category. To completely stop selling their products means that many of the most well-known spirits will disappear. For those who work in the pubs, this means that ingredients for drinks need to be replaced with new ones and that menus need to be completely rewritten.

But Pernod Ricard’s move to pursue profits in Russia ignoring the war in Ukraine triggered a huge debate in Sweden. People are angry at the alcohol giant. Swedish politicians called for a boycott and called the decision “spineless” and a “moral collapse”. Even Systembolaget, the government-run alcohol retail monopoly in Sweden has received a lot of pressure to stop selling Pernod Ricard’s products, as per Expressen reporting.

Big Alcohol’s track record of putting profits over human rights

Already in May 2022, Movendi International exposed that alcohol companies Carlsberg, Heineken, and AB InBev – competitors of Pernod Ricard – all were very slow to exit Russia, after Putin had invaded Ukraine. The alcohol giants had made announcements in early April of 2022 that they would exit Russia but they were slow to do so back then.

Meanwhile, all alcohol companies attempted to whitewash their brand images to distract the international community from their ongoing business practices in Russia in a bid to avoid criticism and threats of boycott.

But earlier this year, investigative journalist Olivier van Beemen uncovered that despite the promise to stop investing in Russia as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Heineken launched no less than 61 new products on the Russian market in 2022.

Heineken’s practices in Russia, Pernod Ricard’s recent decision to commence investments in Russia, the conduct of AB InBev and Carlsberg are all part of an appalling track record of unethical business practices.

To maximize profits, Big Alcohol is supporting Putin’s regime and the Russian war against Ukraine.

Deception as core business strategy

Movendi International reported systematically on the conduct of alcohol companies as Russia invaded and attacked Ukraine.

As Western countries were placing sanctions on Putin’s regime in opposition to Russia’s war on Ukraine and major multinational companies were cutting their ties to Putin, quitting operations in Russia, beer giants Carlsberg, Heineken and others were staying tied to Putin’s war machine. Despite public announcements the alcohol industry put profits over human rights.

Alcohol companies, such as Pernod Ricard are merely engaging in reputation management when they try to explain why they are investing in Putin’s regime.

Pernod Ricard is one of the leaders in the Russian high-cost spirits market – and is gearing up to compete for the top spot.


Kristianstadsbladet: “Absolut börjar exportera till Ryssland igen – efter stoppet

SvD: “Politiker: Bojkotta Absolut vodka

Sverige Radio: “Absolut börjar med export till Ryssland igen

Just Drinks: “Pernod Ricard restarts shipments to Russia

Göteborgs-Posten: “Göteborgs restauranger hakar på bojkotten av Pernod Ricard

Dagens Nyheter: “Kunder rasar mot Absolut Vodka – uppmanar till bojkott

Expressen: “Lyxkrogarnas bojkott – slutar sälja Absolut vodka

Aftonbladet: “Fler krogar bojkottar Absolut vodka–ägaren