Spirits & Liqueurs Vodka

Where Does Your Vodka Come From?

Your favorite bottle’s country of origin might surprise you.

Globe with vodka bottles
Image:

Liquor.com / Laura Sant

Vodka might be Russia’s most popular cultural export. It’s where the spirit is believed by many to have originated, and is certainly most associated with that country today; the word itself is a diminutive of “water” in Russian. But just as not all vodka tastes alike, not all vodka is made in Russia—and your favorite bottle most likely came from elsewhere. 

According to the market-research firm ISWR, only around 14% of the global vodka supply is produced in the country, and that’s mostly consumed by Russians. Data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States shows that just 1.2% of U.S. vodka imports came from Russia in the first half of 2021. And while Russian Standard is indeed made in Russia, other Russian-sounding brands such as Stoli and Smirnoff are today produced in Latvia and the United States, respectively. 

Whether you want to make an informed decision before buying your next bottle or you’re merely curious about the origins of your booze, this is where the most popular vodka brands are produced.

Absolut (Sweden)

Established in 1879, this vodka is manufactured in the Swedish towns of Nöbbelöv and Åhus with winter wheat from southern Sweden. Absolut is owned by the French group Pernod Ricard. 

Beluga Noble (Russia)

Owned by the Russian Beluga Group, this vodka has been produced in Siberia’s Mariinsk Distillery using local wheat and water since 2002. The Beluga Group owns seven other vodkas, including Belenkaya. 

Belvedere (Poland)

First introduced in 1993, the Polish rye vodka brand is produced and distributed by LVMH, the French luxury company that owns Louis Vuitton and Hennessy, among other big names, boozy and otherwise. It is made with Polska rye from the Mazovian Plains in central Poland and distilled in the town of Zyrardów. 

Cîroc (France)

Unlike most vodkas, which are made from grains, this celebrity favorite is distilled from French grapes. Founded in 2003, it is produced in the South of France and distributed by British spirits company Diageo. 

Grey Goose (France)

Bacardí Limited, headquartered in Bermuda, owns this wheat-based vodka, which originated in 1997. It is distilled using winter wheat from Picardy, France, and spring water from Cognac, France.

Ketel One (The Netherlands)

This vodka has been manufactured at the historic Nolet Distillery, in Scheidam, Holland, using “winter wheat grown in Europe,” since 1983. The company entered a joint venture with British spirits conglomerate Diageo in 2008.

New Amsterdam (United States)

Named for Manhattan’s 17th-century moniker, the vodka and gin brand in fact originated in Modesto, California, where its owner E. & J. Gallo is based and where operations remain today. The vodka, launched in 2011, is made with 95% American-sourced corn and other American grains. 

Russian Standard (Russia)

As its name implies, Russian Standard is produced in Russia. Its parent company, Roust Corporation, is owned by Roustam Tauriko, an ogliarch who also owns Russian Standard Bank. First introduced in 1998, the vodka is distilled in St. Petersburg with winter wheat from the Russian Steppes and glacial water from Lake Ladoga. The Polish Żubrówka brand was also owned by Roust Corporation until 2021, when the Poland-based Maspex Group bought it for nearly $1 billion.

Smirnoff (United States)

Although Smirnoff can trace its origins to the Moscow distillery PA Smirnov opened in 1864, the corn-based spirit is now Russian in name only. PA’s third son, Vladimir, fled the country during the Russian Revolution in 1919 and started producing vodka in France. His business expanded to other countries, including the U.S., where operations are now based in Plainfield, Illinois. Smirnoff is owned by British spirits giant Diageo, and produced in countries around the world including the U.S., Canada, Jamaica, and Australia. 

Skyy (United States)

First introduced in 1992 in San Francisco, this wheat-based vodka is owned by the Campari America division of the Italian Gruppo Campari. The distillation plant is in Pekin, Illinois, and Skyy says its wheat and water are both produced domestically.

Stoli (Latvia)

This wheat-based vodka, formerly known as Stolichnaya, originated as a state-produced Russian vodka sometime around the turn of the last century and was trademarked in the former Soviet Union in 1938. Stoli has been made in Latvia by the Stoli Group, itself owned by the Luxembourg-based SPI Group, since 2000, when its oligarch owner Yuri Shefler was exiled from Russia for speaking out publicly against Vladimir Putin. The company rebranded itself in March 2022 in response to confusion over its Russian roots; it previously used some Russian ingredients for its vodka, but announced following the invasion of Ukraine that its factory had “ceased to work with Russian suppliers” and would exclusively use a Slovakian source going forward.

Svedka (Sweden)

Founded in 1998, Svedka is a portmanteau of the words “Swedish” and “vodka.” True to its name, it’s manufactured in Lidköping, Sweden, with Swedish winter wheat. The American-based Constellation Brands has claimed ownership since 2007.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka (United States)

This 100% corn-based vodka has been made at Fifth Generation, the first legal distillery in Texas, since the Austin company’s inception in 1995. 

Which Other Vodkas Are Produced in Russia?

In addition to Russian Standard and Beluga Noble, Russian brands include Husky Vodka, Jewel of Russia, Moskovskaya, Polugar, Ustianochka, and Zyr Russian Vodka.  

What If I Want to Buy Ukrainian Vodka?

Ukrainian vodka is available at many retailers in the U.S. A couple of the bottles you’re most likely to find are Khor and Nemiroff.