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Stoli vodka donates $300K to LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s leadership program

Friday, January 24, 2014

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. distributor of Stolichnaya vodka has entered into a partnership with the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center by investing in the center’s program for the development of LGBT leaders.

LA Gay and Lesbian Center

LA Gay and Lesbian Center

Under the agreement, Stoli Group USA will donate $300,000 to support the Center’s Leadership LAB (Learn, Act, Build): a program that helps current and future LGBT leaders and allies throughout the country and around the world to develop critical leadership skills.

The aim of Leadership LAB is to prepare the next generation of LGBT leaders to effectively advocate for equal rights, build strong organizations, and fight anti-LGBT ballot measures.

“Over the last few years we’ve experienced tremendous gains in freedom and equality for LGBT Americans, but there is still much work to be done, especially in states where organizing for LGBT equality remains very challenging,” said Lorri L. Jean, Chief Executive Officer of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

“And while we’re also making gains internationally, there have been big and significant setbacks. Extremists, acknowledging they’re losing the battle here, are expanding their influence in other countries by demonizing LGBT people and attacking our freedoms. Their influence must be countered,” she said.

“This extraordinary commitment by Stoli Group USA sets a terrific example for all corporations,” said Jean.

Stoli, the most recognizable name among Russian vodkas, has been at the center of a boycott over Russia’s anti-gay laws.

In response, Stolichnaya released a statement last year expressing their opposition to Russia’s anti-gay policies, stating that, “Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be, a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community.”

The Stoli vodka distributed in the U.S. is bottled in Latvia, but distilled from Russian grain.

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96 more reader comments:

  1. now move you company to the US and we will buy :3

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:46pm
  2. It's Latvian anyway you scmuck - Latvia is a different country to Russia. Latvia does not persecute LGBT people.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:35pm
  3. Move it from a country that is NOT Russia? Why? Stoli has been made in Latvia for many years.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:39pm
  4. How about they use their money and influence to change the law in Russia?

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:47pm
  5. They're made in Latvia these days.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:07pm
  6. I thought they are not russian??? they are latvian...

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:08pm
  7. Kinda hard to influence Russian law from LATVIA!!! Why don't you do something? How about not taking the piss out on an ally?

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:15pm
  8. How would they influence Russia? Better they help our own people!

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:54pm
  9. Stoli isn't Russian. And surprisingly a lot of vodka we drink does not come from Russia.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:16pm
  10. Stoli actually is Russian, it's only the bottling and distribution that is done in Latvia.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:43pm
  11. http://stoliforequality.com/

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:44pm
  12. THANKS HARRY EATON......WELL SAID....

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:49pm
  13. Stolichnaya is a vodka made of wheat and rye grain. A well-known Soviet brand, Stolichnaya for international distribution is bottled in Latvia using Latvian water but alcohol from a distillery in Tambov by a company chartered in Luxembourg but founded by a Russian which distributes a wide variety of Russian spirits, having purchased a number of former Soviet brands and operations. Stolichnaya for Russian distribution is manufactured in Kaliningrad by a separate Russian company. So, technically, Stoli is indeed Russian, as the alcohol is made in Tambov Oblast, a Russian "province".

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:55pm
  14. still doesn’t change the fact that the Russian Pres, is a pompus ass. the law hasn’t changed.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:47pm
  15. thats good

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:49pm
  16. They can’t change the law in Russia. It would have been good though if they donated it to activists in Russia..
    But either way at least they’re doing something. It still helps someone. Don’t get all judgemental about it.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:50pm
  17. How about they’re a Latvian that sells booze and nothing more.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:51pm
  18. I know what brand of vodka I’ll be buying from now on!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:52pm
  19. Let’s fix whats wrong here, before we worry about any place else.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:52pm
  20. How about boycotting the software giant ‘Kaspersky Labs’ headquartered in Moscow too. All I ever hear about is Vodka.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:53pm
  21. They aren’t even based in Russia. How about you people research to know which companies you are boycotting. Not all vodka is made in Russia.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:56pm
  22. Actually they are based in Russia. SToli has a Russian factory and farm where they produce the vodka but ship it to Latvia for bottling. BUT even more important is that talking about Stoli is NOT talking about Russian gays arrested under the law or attacked by Nazis. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2013/07/30/stolichnaya-responds-we-have-no-influence-over-russias-government/

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:50pm
  23. WRONG they produce the grain spirit in Russia - but that's not vodka, it has to be mixed with water, filtered and distilled befor being bottled ALL of this occurs in Latvia. http://stoliforequality.com/

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:40pm
  24. Why aren’t they donating the money to build a gay centre in Moscow? That’s where it’s most needed after all?

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 2:58pm
  25. it would be illegal in Moscow - that's the issue..

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:39pm
  26. http://www.towleroad.com/2013/07/listen-stoli-ceo-discusses-vodka-boycott-in-new-interview.html

    He’s based in Luxembourg guys a little research isn’t hard

    Mendeleev described himself as an “ex-Russian” in the interview, considering that he left the country 20 years ago. He used the same term to describe SPI’s owner, Yuri Scheffler, and insisted that they both oppose Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as the country’s anti-gay policies. He maintained that SPI is “not a Russian company,” highlighting the fact that the company is headquartered in Luxembourg, and only operates one distillery in Russia. He did admit that the company does use Russian ingredients, However, he said that the company is looking into other sources, but that will unfortunately take time. “We produce more than 100,000 bottles of Stoli every day…It’s not so easy to shift production immediately.”

    To bolster his arguments, Mendeleev highlighted the fact that Stoli and SPI have been in contest over ownership of the brand for over ten years:

    “We were forced to move our headquarters from Russia about 10 years ago. And this is because we have ongoing litigation with the Russian government about the ownership of the brand. So, we’re not a friend of the Russian government. We are not a Russian company. Stoli is not even allowed to be sold in Russia… [The Russian government] did manage to grab up the Russian Stoli brand and they have been trying to grab up the ownership of the global brand. But the international courts in London and Switzerland understand that this commercial dispute with the Russian government has political motives. Yuri Scheffler, in early 2000, when this whole thing started, was supporting political opposition to the new government that was installed there, and that basically started the whole dispute.”

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:02pm
  27. YES!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:04pm
  28. Hush money

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:05pm
  29. Hardly Stoli has a huge LGBT presence and campaignimng arm http://stoliforequality.com/

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:41pm
  30. The Boycott is not against businesses that support the gay community and there rights to be who they are!
    The Boycott is against businesses that support the anti gay law that President Putin implemented against the gays in Russia.
    The Boycott is against Nigeria for murdering our gay people in Nigeria.
    I will not stand by and watch innocent gay people die for no reason, other than them being gay.
    I’m gay as well and have seen this bloodshed to long! This boycott will end only if Russia leaders” let our people go, and safe from harm!”
    And Nigeria ends there murdering spree of there gay citizens. Set them also free and away from harm!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:07pm
  31. Thx. Have u guys seen they openly support lgbt in their website? Stoli has stated they are for lgbt. Do not mistake it for other russian vodkas

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:07pm
  32. It's Latvian.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:41pm
  33. yes agree to change to law in Russia agree wit u amie black

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:09pm
  34. :3

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:11pm
  35. ARE THEY RUSSIAN

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:11pm
  36. No http://stoliforequality.com/

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:43pm
  37. Polish vodkas are away better!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:15pm
  38. CHEERS to Stoli!!! good one !!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:20pm
  39. What’s that about?

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:21pm
  40. Lets be grateful that they are on our side.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:26pm
  41. nasterovia….!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:32pm
  42. So what? No profits or tax dollars to the Russian economy.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:36pm
  43. no we will not accept your bribe. I mean, we’ll take it, but we’re not going to drink your vodka. :D

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:38pm
  44. http://stoliforequality.com/

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:42pm
  45. Sorry. Not interested. Not buying their vodka.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:49pm
  46. That’s nice. Stoli Vodka should fund LGBT Rusisan NGOs

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:44pm
  47. I knew there was a reason I like stoli!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:47pm
  48. Don’t be hating stoli vodka Yes it’s Russia But at least somebody is donating to the center we should all be glad that people are supporting the center and give money to them we should all donate to the center is a good thing We need to be proud of who we are Be proud that we’re in LA .

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:54pm
  49. It's based and mainly made in Latvia - they only produce the grain spirit in Russia http://stoliforequality.com/

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:42pm
  50. Someone does something good? Blame him for not doing more!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:55pm
  51. Cool

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:14pm
  52. Stoli is made in Latvia, apparently.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:15pm
  53. I miss the LA Gay and Lesbian Center!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:15pm
  54. Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:44pm
  55. TOO LITTLE TOO LATE !!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:47pm
  56. Well they won’t be welcome at the Games!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:48pm
  57. yaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 4:53pm
  58. I am suddenly interested in tasting their vodka!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:07pm
  59. Money can’t buy you gay love.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:16pm
  60. lol, nice try

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:21pm
  61. You can’t buy my integrity. I no longer drink Russian vodka

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:21pm
  62. Well, you should be able to drink this, then. It's Latvian.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:30pm
  63. Lene were do the products to make the vodka come from? That is right Russia! Once they no longer buy Russian grain to make Vodka I will consider buying the Vodka.

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:00pm
  64. Stoli isn’t really Russian. The whole Russian bit has just been the company trying to project an image of Russian-ness and authenticity as part of a marketing campaign to compete with the newly emerged Russian Standard, which despite being ACTUAL RUSSIAN VODKA has not been mentioned by name in any of these calls to boycott. Most of you on these threads either don’t have the IQ or attention span to get past headlines and actually read the articles. This whole nonsense about boycotting Stoli was started by that self-centered douche Dan Savage anyway. Besides, in case you idiots haven’t noticed by this point, Putin has Russia under a pretty tight grip. I doubt there is any business in the country that could influence him in any way at all.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:22pm
  65. Love stoli crans. Love them even more now :)

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:28pm
  66. LA GLBT center should give that money to a counterpart in Russia.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:29pm
  67. We will continue to attack you Stoli group for your discrimination towards the LGBT community until you issue a worldwide apology live and make a bottle of Stoli with our rainbow flag!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:52pm
  68. How have they discriminated against the LGBT community?

    Replied on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:29pm
  69. As a gay person I do not ever align myself with gay community agencies that deal in this type of monkey business. It’s not just the Russian human rights tie, it’s the persistent push for alcohol and cigarette consumption that has driven many LGBTQ causes and events over the past decades. These companies have nothing positive to offer and should not be our sponsors. They are buying out gay community movers and shakers, who then glibly justify everything, in honor of the wads of cash thrown their way. They will faithfully uphold all the PR that comes with. It’s hypocrisy.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:56pm
  70. Ya they know who likes a good cocktail!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:57pm
  71. Their vodka isn’t that good anyway, and the mane is the only thing Russian

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:02pm
  72. Money can’t buy Love.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:08pm
  73. Oh I remember that center

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:22pm
  74. Heather Long

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:22pm
  75. My German Sheppard is named Stoli.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:28pm
  76. Sometimes there is good in the world. Congrats.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:45pm
  77. It helps to positively support all good deeds. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a week. Neither will getting rid of evil and hatred in Russia.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:48pm
  78. Too little, too late.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:05pm
  79. Talk about a kiss-up.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:11pm
  80. Thank you

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:26pm
  81. So… I can just get free money if I say I’m gay? Well, that’s great, cause I doubt the judge/mayor/priest/pastor/etc., really wants to watch me to make sure I am… well that’s GREAT (hopefully, you picked up the sarcasm). I’m hetero, by the way, and not anti-homosexual, but it does seem stupid to pay people based on who they want to have sex with.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:28pm
  82. They’re scared…..

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:57pm
  83. Lets drink
    To that!! Lol

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:03pm
  84. money changes everything, right..?

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:08pm
  85. This is incredible !!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:14pm
  86. What a turn around! ;-)

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:35pm
  87. I still dont forgive them…just like i will never forgive Michael Vick.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:09pm
  88. Reason enough for me to buy Stoli’s Vodka going forward.

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:17pm
  89. Of course they are supporting LGBT programs here…. do you know how much money they would lose if all LGBT bars, clubs stopped selling their product?

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:31pm
  90. Too little too late!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:35pm
  91. its a start.. a good one too i rekon

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:47pm
  92. They’re not based in Russia people. Do your research. They didn’t have to do this; however, they’re compensating for many of their Russian-based competitors. Good for you Stoli. #proactivity

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:54pm
  93. I’d say this is a good way to make up for it. Heck, if fundies can throw cash, why not us? Money talks!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 10:27pm
  94. Nice try!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 10:36pm
  95. We NEED to BOYCOTT ALL RUSSIAN products!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 10:36pm
  96. And I want a new pair of sandals-they broke when the bouncer threw me out for protesting with Queer Nation at the “Stoli Guy” contest over the summer at Marquee in NYC

    Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 11:00pm