The vodka distillers’ union (VDU) has announced that the product is to be renamed Gin Lite. The motion was passed at an emergency meeting of the entire world’s vodka producers earlier this week.
‘We’ve been concerned for a while that quite a bit of negative baggage has accumulated around the term vodka,’ said head of the VDU Ivan Ackerov.
‘We could handle being associated with poor quality spirits, binge drinking and winos on park benches,’ he told Fake Booze.
‘But being indelibly linked with Russia at a time like this was the last straw.’
Famously, most vodkas in the world feature imperial crests, eagles, random Cyrillic script and fictitious stories on the back label about being triple-filtered through the Tsar’s pants – even if they are made in a factory on a Scottish industrial estate.
‘Vodka might mean ‘little water’ in Russian,’ said Ackerov. ‘But in every other language it now means ‘drink of a murderous tyrant’.’
It was, he admitted, ‘almost as hard to sell as sherry – though would probably recover somewhat quicker.’
‘It’s a real problem,’ agreed Mo Hennessy, brand manager of Grey Goose. ‘It doesn’t matter how much we try to explain to people that we are from France and made out of grapes that are too bad even for Cognac, people aren’t interested.
‘They just accuse us of being the plaything of a gimlet-eyed dictator.
‘Which is no way to talk about Bernard Arnault.’
According to the VDU’s Ackerov, the new Gin Lite category is far more in line with the needs of the modern consumer.
‘It is a stripped-back gin for Gen-Z consumers,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘We’ve taken out all of those superfluous ingredients like juniper and focused on one key botanical: wheat.
‘Really, when you think about it, it’s a much purer story of spirit terroir.’
Diageo announced that it would be rebranding Smirnoff as Gordon’s Lite ‘as soon as humanly possible’ to help clear a six-week backlog of stock.
Gin producers have accused their vodka counterparts of brazenly trying to cash in on a ‘much cooler’ drinks category and using the war as an excuse.
The VDU, however, dismissed such claims as nonsense.
‘It’s completely wrong to describe our push for Gin Lite as an ill thought-out, cynical knee-jerk reaction,’ said Ackerov. ‘It’s a carefully planned cynical knee-jerk reaction.’
Gin producers who said the new Lite classification would adulterate the purity of the category should, he told Fake Booze, ‘take a look at all that sweet flavoured crap they’ve been pumping out for the last ten years.
‘And besides, even without botanicals, most brands will still have about as much flavour as Bombay Sapphire.’