18:42 PM Monday, June 25, 2018
From Zaporizhia to California: Khortytsa Vodka
In one state, vodka brand wins access to an American population almost equal in size to that of Ukraine
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KYIV – Ukraine’s Khortytsa Vodka, already one of the world’s top-selling brands, has signed a distribution deal with CVS Pharmacy, a leading American convenience store chain, to sell in California, America’s most populous state.

Founded in 2003 in Zaporizhia, Khortytsa now employs about 1,300 workers. The vodka is named after Khortytsia, the largest island on the Dniepr River and the historic stronghold of the Zaporizhian Cossacks.

Playing on this Cossack history in its marketing, Khortytsa grew over the last decade to become the world’s third largest vodka brand, after Smirnoff, a brand of Russian origin, and Absolut, of Sweden.

Breaking into the US market, Khortytsa went on sale last year in Missouri and Wisconsin. Now, Ukraine’s best-selling vodka is available at 700 CVS locations in California. With liberal liquor laws, California allows sales of liquor at grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations. Traditionally a wine and beer state, California has a population of 40 million, nearly as many people as Ukraine.

Sold Around the World

Khortytsa is one of Ukraine’s best known international brands. Available in 77 countries, it sponsors major sporting events, including international soccer and heavyweight championship boxing bouts.

In India, New Delhi’s only exclusive vodka bar, Aura, at The Claridges Hotel, recently held a launch to showcase the Ukrainian vodka.

The brand is owned by Global Spirits, the biggest international alcohol holding in eastern Europe. This Fortune 500 company was established in 2008 and includes such brands as LEAF, Pervak, and Morosha, the world’s fastest growing international vodka brand, according to Wine & Spirits Research Agency (IWSR). Worldwide annual sales amount to 6.4 million cases.

Priced below Absolut and Smirnoff

Khortytsa has won over 200 medals at international competitions. In the U.S., Global Spirits promotes Khortytsa as a quality product at priced at $13 to $15. By comparison, a bottle of Absolut costs about $20 and Smirnoff about $17.

From its distillery in Zaporizhia, the company exports all four Khortytsa lines to the USA: Khortytsa Platinum, Khortytsa Ice, Khortytsa Honey Pepper, and the premium Khortytsa De Luxe.

For comments or news tips, please contact UBJ Reporter Lee Reaney at

Photo 1: Distilled from Ukrainian grain, Khortytsa vodka goes from the company’s distillery in Zaporizhia, southern Ukraine, to 77 countries around the world. (supplied)

Photo 2: Khortytsa Premium vodka has a 40 percent alcohol content. The company says its ‘smoothness’ is due to a ‘silver filtration’ process used in distilling. (Credit:Lee Reaney)

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