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Russian company eyes Latvia for vodka production

  • 2002-02-28
  • BNS
RIGA - Officials from the Russian company Soyuzplodimport could shift production of Stolichnaya and other name brand vodkas from Kaliningrad to Latvia, company officials said last week.

Soyuzplodimport may shift production to Latvijas Balzams' distillery in Riga, due to problems the company is having exporting from Russia. Soyuzplodimport owns a controlling stake in Latvijas Balzams.

Russian customs officials earlier this month forbid Soyuzplodimport to export several of its brands following a court battle with the Russian government over the trademarks that the company acquired in the early 1990s.

The Russian government reclaimed the trademarks, which it held during the Soviet era.

Customs officials in Kaliningrad earlier this month seized 120 containers of Stolichnaya worth and estimated $39 million that was produced there.

Latvijas Balzams currently produces Stolichnaya and other trademark brands for Soyuzplodimport.

Market analysts speculated that Soyuzplodimport wanted the stake in Latvijas Balzams to have a distiller outside Russia in case the company ran into trademark problems with the Russian government.