French distillery Pernod Ricard, maker of Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey, is stepping up exports to Russia to insure itself against possible retaliation by Moscow to Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine, the Financial Times reported.
"We are importing as much as we can for our [Russian] inventories because an embargo or retaliatory action could happen any time," the company's chief executive, Pierre Pringuet, told the paper earlier this week.
Extra supplies of Jameson Irish whiskey, Ballantine's scotch, Absolut vodka and wines are on their way.
This week, EU leaders are expected to announce more sanctions against Moscow over Russia's actions in Ukraine, where the west accuses it of supporting separatists in a civil war. In its first retaliation to sanctions last month, Russia banned about food imports from Western countries worth about $9 billion annually.
Only one of Pernod Ricard's products seems safe from a new ban, Pringuet said — Ararat brandy, which Pernod Ricard produces in Armenia. This brand brings in a third of Pernod Ricard's revenues in Russia, according to FT.