US-Embargo

For a long time, Vodka and Russia were identified as being an inseparable pair. The Russians were known to be the most experienced experts at the Vodka front. That sounds true, as 70% of all alcoholic drinks consumed in Russia are some kind of Vodka. This can be interpreted as a very strong national Tradition. But it can also be seen as a lack of fantasy or other choices. Some people already suspect that Russians need much more home-made alcohol to survive the hardships of the Russian climate – including the political one. Russians seem to consume Vodka with the conviction that it is the best alcoholic drink ever. And the most Russian one. That sounds true but it may be an error in favor of Russian history. The Russians are always mentioned first when it comes to the question who invented the stuff. They even claim to be the inventors. Vodka, some say, represents the Russian soul more than anything else. Fact is that no-one really knows who distilled the first Vodka. We can trace the term “Vodka” back to old scriptures from the fourteenth century. But Russia is merely one suspect in being the real inventor. It may be though, that the origins of Vodka really lie in Poland or elsewhere in the Baltic region. As long as this is not proved by archaeological findings, Russia continues to claim the invention of Vodka for the Russians.

Who cares for Russian Vodka?
The modern world knows so many brands of Vodka that its inhabitants do not necessarily need to consume Russian Vodka brands. American Vodka is as good and strong as any other Vodka. Most of all, this alcoholic liquid is produced from fermented and distilled substances as grain or potatoes. These substances can be found in many countries worldwide. Naturally, besides of consuming these basic Vodka ingredients in various delicious preparations for dinner, some countries use them to produce their own Vodka brands. We find excellent European Vodkas as well as great American ones. Normally, these Vodka brands have an alcoholic content of 40% minimum. You can consume the liquid neat, chilled or as an ingredient of alcoholic cocktails like “Screwdriver”, “Bloody Mary” “Greyhound” “Vodka Martini” or “Sex on the Beach”. If you listened closely, you might have realized that no well-known Russian sounding cocktail or mixed drink was mentioned here. In Europe or in America people do not put Russian Vodka brands before all the others. Wladimir Putins latest import sanctions for Russian Vodka thus fail to impress the Americans. In the “Top Ten list of favorite Vodka brands in America” you will not find one single “Original Russian Vodka”, even if the stickers on some bottles claim that these contain “Original Russian Vodka”. Fact is: Most “Russian” Vodka brands are produced in distilleries outside of Russia.

Dilute the economic warfare
It seems that the recent weapons in economic warfare between Russian president Wladimir Putin and the rest of the world merely have a demonstrative character. The sanctions seem to be as diluted as a Single Malt Whiskey with Soda in it. The result is comparably weak in its taste. Maybe the Russians boycott all Vodka imports to America because they need more Russian Vodka to drown their frustration about the lacking importance of their products in America. It is decidedly not so that Russian Vodka is less tasty. It isn’t. The real important question is: Why should Americans drink Russian Vodka when American products are just as good – not to mention all other excellent Vodka brands that are produced worldwide? Anyway: None drinks Vodka because it tastes. In fact, most people consume it because it does not taste too much. Vodka is the ideal ingredient for alcoholic mixtures which nicely taste of all the other ingredients but have an almost non-detectable content of alcohol that is sufficiently high. Vodka does not have a prominent aroma of its own. It just makes prominently drunk if you consume enough of it. American Vodka brands make it much easier to buy them. You do not need to twist your tongue on Russian brand names that no-one can pronounce. America could not care less when Putin forbids the import of his Russian Vodka brands. If you wish to experience slurred speech and twisted tongues after drinking too many Vodka cocktails, American Vodka will do nicely.

The sinking popularity of Russian Vodka in the USA
Looking at the American import-charts for Russian Vodka, you cannot fail to see that the imported and consumed Russian Vodka bottle-rates dropped seriously in 2013. Notably that happened before Wladimir Putin declared an import ban on Russian Vodka. At the same time, the rates of Vodka sales in the USA did not drop. This is interesting as it implies that Americans still consume as much Vodka as before. Prohibition must not be feared as the Top Ten Vodka brands consumed in the United States are definitely not Russian. Even those brands which sound like they were Russian products – like “Stolichnaya Premium Vodka”, “Absolut Vodka” or “Smirnoff Vodka” – are distilled elsewhere in the world. Not everything hat claims to be of Russian origin, still is. The American craft distillers may not be the most important distillers dominating the American Vodka market. But the American brands gain in importance. And it may well be that they gain even more importance in the wake of a prolonged import boycott by Russia. It is unknown, if China or India will be more interested in Russian Vodka imports in the future.

Independence is crucial
Americans love to be independent from others. Why should they want to be dependent on Russian Vodka when they can distill their own Vodka brands or use imported brands from all over the world? The American Vodka brands are just as good to be dependent on. Hopefully, any alcohol dependence or addiction is not caused by excessive Vodka drinking. Anyway, Russian Vodka brands tend to be more puristic. American ones will probably follow the latest trend on the Vodka market: There will be more and more flavored Vodkas in the future. Flavored American Vodka is going to be a ready-made lifestyle drink very soon. It is unthinkable that Americans will rely on increased Russian Vodka imports in the future when the American distilling branch continues to blossom with new trendy products. The Russians may continue to knit legends around their beloved national Vodkas, but for the Americans these are just some of many alcoholic beverages that can be consumed. Home-made products always come first in US-households. They reflect American traditions and values. They also taste much better as they do not carry the unbecoming and unwanted aroma of conflict and camouflaged aggression.

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