Harrods STILL sells £90 Beluga vodka bottles from under the counter

Russian vodka, sir? Let me open the special cabinet! Harrods is STILL selling £90 Beluga bottles from under the counter while Selfridges stocks £150 spirits as probe reveals luxury West End stores stock goods from pariah state (but the caviar is from IRAN)

  • EXCLUSIVE: The iconic department store in Knightsbridge, London, did not stack the products on its shelves
  • But staff revealed there were items by Beluga stocked under the cashier that could be bought for nearly £100
  • Selfridges was also selling Russian vodka in different sizes – but it was out on the shelves and cost up to £150
  • It comes as British shops tried to wash themselves clean of products from Putin’s country amid outrage at war
  • Bars and pubs across Britain also removed Russian-branded drinks from the menus as businesses did their bit

Harrods is selling expensive Russian vodka to its upmarket clients from below the counter despite most stores ditching brands from the country due to Vladimir Putin’s vicious invasion of Ukraine, MailOnline can reveal.

The iconic department store in Knightsbridge, central London, did not stack the products on its shelves but would flog items stashed under the kiosk.

Staff were happy to sell huge 1.5-litre bottles for nearly £100 that were made by a label that has been largely stripped from other UK supermarkets.

The Selfridges in the centre of the capital was also selling Russian vodka in a variety of sizes – but they were out on the shelves and cost up to £150.

Labour MP and chairman of the Commons Standards Committee Chris Bryant slammed the discovery, adding: I can’t believe that some people don’t get this.’

It comes as British shops tried to wash themselves clean of products from Putin’s country amid outrage at his seizing of parts of Ukraine.

The majority of high street chains, fast food restaurants and retailers have parted with alcohol, cigarettes, fur and food from there – but some upmarket stores have been slower to react.

Bars and pubs across the UK also removed Russian-branded drinks from their menus as business leaders said they were doing the ‘little thing’ they could in response to the brutal conflict.

Meanwhile Britain on Tuesday announced it was hiking import tariffs on hundreds of Russian goods including luxury products such as vodka, fur coats, antiques and works of art.

The UK Government said Russian goods worth about £900million will be hit with an extra 35 per cent tariff, under a raft of new UK economic sanctions on Moscow.

Ukraine last night rejected a Russian peace talk proposal to become ‘neutral’ like Sweden or Austria and instead demanded guarantees international forces will ‘prevent attacks’ in the future.

The country’s top negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak his homeland was ‘in a direct state of war with Russia’, adding he wants ‘legally verified security guarantees’.

Harrods (pictured yesterday) is selling expensive Russian vodka to its upmarket clients from below the counter despite most stores ditching brands from the country due to Vladimir Putin’s vicious invasion of Ukraine


The iconic department store in Knightsbridge, central London, did not stack the products on its shelves but would flog items stashed under the kiosk (pictured yesterday)

Meanwhile the Selfridges in the centre of the capital (pictured yesterday) was also selling Russian vodka in a variety of sizes – but they were out on the shelves and cost up to £150

Bottles of Beluga Gold Line, £150, Noble, £46.99, and Celebration, £52.99, were stocked next to Polish brands in Selfridges (pictured yesterday)

Booze, fags, fur and food: The everyday items from Russia the UK is ditching

British retailers and food stores have mostly ditched products from Russia amid the war in Ukraine.

Speciality Brands, Waitrose and Harvey Nichols are among those to ditch vodka from Putin’s pariah state.

Elsewhere Russian Standard Vodka has disappeared from Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, the Co-op, Tesco and Asda shelves.

Beer giant Heineken and cigarette maker Imperial Brands halted operations in Russia.

Bristol-based Imperial – the group behind JPS and Davidoff – said it was pausing production at its factory in Volgograd, alongside all sales and marketing activity in the country.

The owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, Yum! Brands, had earlier revealed it was pausing 70 KFC company-owned restaurants in Russia and was due to suspend all 50 Pizza Hut franchise outlets.

Babycare retailer Mothercare also announced it had paused all its business in Russia, which accounts for up to a quarter of its worldwide retail sales, sending shares plunging by more than a quarter at one stage.

It followed announcements by Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonald’s they were all suspending operations in Russia amid a growing consumer backlash and threats of boycotts for failing to pull out of Russia.

Harrods yesterday had its shelves stripped of any vodka brands originating in Russia – as well as its website – with spirits from Poland, Ukraine and Belgium instead lining the cabinet in its underground alcohol bunker.

But staff had bottles of ‘super-premium’ Beluga Noble vodka stored under the kiosk for customers still wanting to source products from Putin’s pariah state.

They said that a large bottle – 1.5 litres – would set a punter back £90 while a small one – 700 millilitres – was charged at £37.

The drinks were being kept in a cupboard under the counter in the glamorous wine and spirit rooms that spread under the famous building.

Meanwhile Selfridges took no such measures and had the brand proudly displayed across its shelves in its flagship Oxford Circus store.

Bottles of Beluga Gold Line, £150, Noble, £46.99, and Celebration, £52.99, were stocked next to Polish brands in the central London shop.

Harrods and Selfridges have been approached for comment.

Labour MP Mr Bryant, who has been a vocal critic of Russia throughout the crisis, told MailOnline: ‘I can’t believe that some people don’t get this.

‘Putin’s Russia is engaged in a barbaric war of aggression and we need to do everything in our power to pressurise him into changing tack.

‘No doubt some idiots think doing without caviar is a massive privation.

‘Tell that to the people of Mariupol being bombed to death, or the 1.5 million Ukrainian children feeling Putin’s bombs.’

Beluga vodka was first created by the Mariinsk distillery – which dates back to the Romanovs dynasty when Tsar Nicholas II was on the throne in 1900 – in the Siberian town of the same name as the brewer.

The company makes six flavours for punters – Noble, Transatlantic, Allure, Goldline, Celebration and Beluga Epicure by Lalique.

The drink is made using 60 per cent artesian water which they source from about 33m under the earth, while other ingredients include special malt spirit which drives up the cost.

From here it is triple filtered through charcoal, silver and sand, with the Transatlantic adding another layer through cotton.

The product is then left to mature for a month for Noble, 45 days for Transatlantic, two months for Allure and three months for Goldline, which is reflected in the price.

Beluga vodka was first created by the Mariinsk distillery – which dates back to the Romanovs dynasty when Tsar Nicholas II was on the throne in 1900 – in the Siberian town of the same name as the brewer. Pictured: Selfridges yesterday

Pictured: The wine and spirit cellar in the basement of Harrods’ iconic building in Knightsbridge, west London

Pictured: Harrods’ vodka selection on the shelves yesterday did not include Russian brands

The upmarket vodka brand that goes for up to £150 per bottle… what is Beluga?

Beluga vodka was first created by the Mariinsk distillery – which dates back to the Romanovs dynasty when Tsar Nicholas II was on the throne in 1900 – in the Siberian town of the same name as the brewer.

The company makes six flavours for punters – Noble, Transatlantic, Allure, Goldline, Celebration and Beluga Epicure by Lalique.

The drink is made using 60 per cent artesian water which they source from about 33m under the earth, while other ingredients include special malt spirit which drives up the cost.

From here it is triple filtered through charcoal, silver and sand, with the Transatlantic adding another layer through cotton.

The product is then left to mature for a month for Noble, 45 days for Transatlantic, two months for Allure and three months for Goldline, which is reflected in the price.

But it has largely disappeared from shelves across the country, with Speciality Brands, Waitrose and Harvey Nichols among those to ditch it. 

But it has largely disappeared from shelves across the country, with Speciality Brands, Waitrose and Harvey Nichols among those to ditch it and other Russian spirits.

Speciality Brands managing director Chris Seale told The Grocer: ‘As a company, we have worked closely with the team at Beluga, many of whom are experiencing the conflict first-hand with family and friends in Ukraine.

‘Beluga as a brand stands for peace, nevertheless we have ceased all support for the brand for the foreseeable future.’

Waitrose confirmed Beluga – the only Russian vodka brand it sold – was no longer there due to John Lewis Partnership’s commitment to remove items made in Russia.

Elsewhere Russian Standard Vodka has disappeared from Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, the Co-op, Tesco and Asda shelves.

A spokesman for Tesco said: ‘We will not be buying products from businesses that are wholly Russian-owned and we are supporting humanitarian relief efforts through our partnerships with the Red Cross, food banks and other relief organisations to help those affected in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.’

Another product beloved by the rich and famous, Russian caviar, did appear to have been stripped from upmarket department stores across London.

Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason were not selling roe from wild sturgeon that was branded as Russian caviar.

Instead, some shops had dwindling supplies of it on the fish counters that were sourced mostly from Iranian parts of the Caspian Sea.

The delicacy is getting rarer in some markets due to supply issues caused by the war in Ukraine.

An expert at Harvey Nichols said Russian caviar had been pulled from its shelves in protest at Putin’s invasion, while a Selfridges fishmonger said it was worth stocking up while products were available.

Tins were going for up to £420 each in Harvey Nichols while Selfridges had a fire sale on for Royal Beluga caviar – costing up to £165 – that had come out the Caspian.

The fish eggs traditionally come from wild sturgeon in either the Caspian or the Black Sea but some markets sell them sourced from other fish in different waters.

Another product beloved by the rich and famous, Russian caviar, did appear to have been stripped from upmarket department stores across London. Pictured: Harrods yesterday

An expert at Harvey Nichols said Russian caviar had been pulled from its shelves in protest at Putin’s invasion, while a Selfridges fishmonger (pictured yesterday) said it was worth stocking up while products were available

Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason were not selling roe from wild sturgeon that was branded as Russian caviar. Pictured: Fortnum and Mason yesterday

The fish eggs traditionally come from wild sturgeon in either the Caspian or the Black Sea but some markets sell them sourced from other fish in different waters. Pictured: Harrods yesterday

Caviar is pictured on display in Fortnum and Mason in central London, with it coming from Iran, Belgium, Germany and China – but not Russia

Russian products have been ripped out of British stores amid fury at Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, with vodka supplies from the country hard to find. Pictured: Harrods fish market yesterday

Polish caviar, US fur and Ukrainian vodka? Russian luxuries face being replaced by rival products from other nations as UK ramps up import tariffs to put the squeeze on Putin 

Britain on Tuesday announced it was hiking import tariffs on hundreds of Russian goods including luxury products such as vodka, fur coats, antiques and works of art.

The UK Government said Russian goods worth about £900million will be hit with an extra 35 per cent tariff, under a raft of new UK economic sanctions on Moscow.

And it means British consumers and businesses could now look to importing similar products from other countries in a bid to avoid their costs increasing overnight.

For example, they may now start importing more vodka from big exporters such as Sweden, France and Poland – while those wanting to bring in fur items, which area on the list of products, may look to the likes of Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Russian works of art are also on the Government’s list, meaning that the UK may look more to other major exporters of art such as the US, France, Switzerland.

Russian antiques could be replaced by those coming in from the US, China and France, while more white fish could be imported from China, Norway and Vietnam.

It is not yet clear whether caviar will be included in the ban, with a more detailed list expected to be issued by the Department for International Trade in the coming days.

Russian products have been ripped out of British stores amid fury at Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, with vodka supplies from the country hard to find.

Beer giant Heineken and cigarette maker Imperial Brands joined a growing list of firms to halt operations in Russia amid a corporate exodus from the country in response to the Ukraine conflict.

Bristol-based Imperial – the group behind JPS and Davidoff – said it was pausing production at its factory in Volgograd, alongside all sales and marketing activity in the country.

Russia and Ukraine together accounted for two per cent of Imperial’s net revenues last year, or around £656million. Dutch brewer Heineken said it was stopping the production and sale of its own brand beer in Russia.

The owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, Yum! Brands, had earlier revealed it was pausing 70 KFC company-owned restaurants in Russia and was due to suspend all 50 Pizza Hut franchise outlets.

Babycare retailer Mothercare also announced it had paused all its business in Russia, which accounts for up to a quarter of its worldwide retail sales, sending shares plunging by more than a quarter at one stage.

It followed announcements by Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonald’s they were all suspending operations in Russia amid a growing consumer backlash and threats of boycotts for failing to pull out of Russia.

A host of UK bars including one owned by a former Dragon’s Den entrepreneur also earlier this month stopped the sale of Russian vodka.

Nightcap Group and Arc Inspirations are among bars that removed vodka and other Russian booze from their venues in a move of solidarity with people in Ukraine.

Former dragon Sarah Willingham, founder of Nightcap, described the move as a ‘little thing’ the business could do in response to the conflict.

Nightcap runs 27 bars across its London Cocktail Club, Barrio Bars and Adventure Bar Group businesses in London. 

Ms Willingham said earlier this month: ‘The devastation in Ukraine is heartbreaking, and I cannot start to comprehend what it must be like for the people of Ukraine.

‘It’s hard to sit here in our warm safe homes and do nothing.

‘We have donated money, but from a business point of view we (the senior team and the staff) wanted to do something, anything, to show our support and so therefore we have removed all Russian vodka and alcohol from our bars across the whole of the Nightcap estate.

‘It’s a little thing but the more little things we do, the bigger the impact will be.’ Leeds-based bar owner Arc Inspirations also confirmed it would stop serving Russian vodka.

The bar business said on Twitter: ‘To show our support to the people of Ukraine we will no longer be pouring any Russian vodka in any of our bars £standwithukraine.’

Elsewhere, the founder of Bundobust, which runs hospitality venues in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, also called on the sector to find alternatives for Russian products.

Marko Husak said on Twitter: ‘I’ve had quite a few messages from my colleagues in the restaurant, bar and beer industries asking if there is anything that they can do to help, so I’ve suggested that they can help by stop stocking Russian products.’

But a raft of global corporate giants have remained tight-lipped on their Russian operations, despite mounting pressure from consumers.

It comes as the war in Ukraine rumbled on after its leaders rejected a Russian peace talk proposal to become ‘neutral’ like Sweden or Austria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that some parts of a possible peace deal with Ukraine were close to being agreed after Kyiv agreed to discuss neutrality

Ukraine (pictured, President Vlodymyr Zelensky) on Wednesday demanded guarantees that international forces will ‘prevent attacks’ in the future and rejected Russia’s proposal for Kyiv to become ‘neutral’ like Austria or Sweden

Top negotiator Mr Podolyak said: ‘Ukraine is now in a direct state of war with Russia. As a result, the model can only be ”Ukrainian” and only on legally verified security guarantees.’

He called for a legally binding security agreement, signed by international partners, who would ‘not stand aside in the event of an attack on Ukraine, as they do today.’

The Kremlin earlier said a neutral Ukraine along the lines of Sweden or Austria was being discussed at talks with Kyiv to end three weeks of fighting in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: ‘This is an option that is being discussed now and that can be considered as a compromise.’

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said neutrality was taking centre stage at the talks and Moscow and Kyiv were ‘close to agreeing’ the wording of an agreement on neutrality.

Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky this week said his country must accept it will not become a member of NATO – a statement which was expected to pave the way for some kind of peace deal with Russia.

The two sides have held several rounds of negotiations aimed at finding common ground and bringing the hostilities launched by Russian leader Vladimir Putin in late February to a halt.

The latest bout ended late Tuesday with Kyiv pointing to ‘fundamental contradictions’ in the delegations’ standpoints.

Kyiv was rocked overnight by new explosions which wounded at least two people and damaged two residential buildings (pictured, a woman with a child evacuates from an apartment block which was hit by Russian shelling early Wednesday)

Aftermath of Russian shelling of a 12-storey residential building in Svyatoshyn district of Kyiv early on Wednesday, hours after the Ukrainian capital was placed under a 36-hour curfew

Kyiv was rocked overnight by new explosions which wounded at least two people and damaged two residential buildings hours after the city was placed under curfew amid warnings to brace for a 36-hour bombardment at the hands of Russian forces

Both sides had earlier raised hopes of a breakthrough, referring to agreements that were close to being put to paper and signed. 

Lavrov on Wednesday cautioned the negotiations were not easy but that there was ‘some hope of reaching a compromise’.

Russia’s negotiator Medinsky echoed the line to reporters on Wednesday that talks were ‘slow and difficult’ but said the Kremlin wants peace, ‘as soon as possible’.

He reiterated the core issue at the talks is a ‘neutral’ Ukraine, citing the status of Austria and Sweden as possible examples to follow.

It would mean Ukraine could retain its armed forces but that Kyiv would not be allowed to have any foreign bases, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. 

‘A whole range of issues tied with the size of Ukraine’s army is being discussed’, Medinsky said, having earlier mentioned the sides are discussing an idea for a future Ukraine with a smaller, non-aligned military. 

Sweden is militarily non-aligned in peacetime and neutral in times of war, having ended its policy of neutrality in 1992 at the end of the Cold War. It is not a member of Nato, but it has been a partner for nearly 30 years.

At the end of the Cold War, Sweden slashed its military spending, but began reinvesting in its defence following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Polish caviar, US fur and Ukrainian vodka? Russian luxuries face being replaced by rival products from other nations as UK ramps up import tariffs to put the squeeze on Putin

  • UK on Tuesday afternoon hiked import tariffs on hundreds of Russian goods – including some luxury products
  • Russian favourites include vodka, fur coats, antiques, works of art and white fish were among items affected
  • Goods worth £900million will be hit with an extra 35 per cent tariff under new sanctions amid the Ukraine war
  • UK consumers and businesses could import similar products from other nations as a way to still enjoy items

Britain on Tuesday announced it was hiking import tariffs on hundreds of Russian goods including luxury products such as vodka, fur coats, antiques and works of art.

The UK Government said Russian goods worth about £900million will be hit with an extra 35 per cent tariff, under a raft of new UK economic sanctions on Moscow.

And it means British consumers and businesses could now look to importing similar products from other countries in a bid to avoid their costs increasing overnight.

For example, they may now start importing more vodka from big exporters such as Sweden, France and Poland – while those wanting to bring in fur items, which area on the list of products, may look to the likes of Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Russian works of art are also on the Government’s list, meaning that the UK may look more to other major exporters of art such as the US, France, Switzerland.

Russian antiques could be replaced by those coming in from the US, China and France, while more white fish could be imported from China, Norway and Vietnam.

It is not yet clear whether caviar will be included in the ban, with a more detailed list expected to be issued by the Department for International Trade in the coming days.

Among the companies already having made changes is cocktail bar group Nightcap, owned by former Dragons’ Den investor Sarah Willingham, which has replaced Russian vodka with a Ukrainian vodka called Nemiroff across its 27 venues. These include The Adventure Bar Group, Barrio Familia and The Cocktail Club brands.

Seafood industry group Seafish has suggested that UK importers could try to source alternatives to Russian whitefish – cod and haddock – such as Alaskan pollock and locally-sourced hake, which could soon be more common at UK fish and shops. 

What Russian products will face extra tariff rise 

Russian imports of the following products will face an additional tariff increase of 35 percentage points, over and above any existing tariff rate:

  • iron
  • steel
  • fertilisers
  • wood
  • tyres
  • railway containers
  • cement
  • copper
  • aluminium
  • silver
  • lead
  • iron ore
  • residue/food waste products
  • beverages
  • spirits and vinegar (this includes vodka)
  • glass and glassware
  • cereals
  • oil seeds
  • paper and paperboard
  • machinery
  • works of art
  • antiques
  • fur skins and artificial fur
  • ships
  • white fish

The UK said Russian imports of a series of products will face the additional tariff increase, over and above any existing tariff rate under the terms of the move.  

And high-end luxury goods exports to Russia have been banned in a move that will impact Moscow’s access to luxury British vehicles, high-end fashion and works of art as part of co-ordinated action by the UK and its allies in the G7 group of countries.

The Department for International Trade said the export ban will ‘make sure oligarchs and other members of the elite, who have grown rich under President Putin’s reign and support his illegal invasion, are deprived of access to luxury goods’.

The latest sanctions also include a move to deny Russia and Belarus access to the so-called Most Favoured Nation tariff for hundreds of their exports, depriving both nations key benefits of World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership.

Britain further announced it would cut off all Government-backed export finance to Russia and Belarus, meaning it will no longer issue any new guarantees, loans and insurance for exports to the countries.

International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: ‘The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with our international partners in our determination to punish Putin for his barbaric actions in Ukraine, and we will continue our work to starve his regime of the funds that enable him to carry them out.’

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, added: ‘Our new tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from global trade, ensuring it does not benefit from the rules-based international system it does not respect.’

It comes after the Government, last week, froze assets and imposed travel bans on seven Russian oligarchs, including Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich.

The imported Russian goods facing the extra tariff charges span a slew of sectors and include goods such as spirits and vinegar, iron, steel, fertilisers, wood, tyres and railway containers.

Also on the list are cement, copper, aluminium, silver, lead, beverages, glass and glassware, cereals, oil seeds, paper, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur skins and artificial fur, ships and white fish. 

Russian vodka will be among goods worth about £900 million to be hit with an extra 35 per cent tariff. Among the world’s other major exporters of vodka are Sweden, France and Poland

Russian fur coats are also among the products facing an extra 35 per cent tariff after the UK Government changes – but fur can also be imported from Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia

Russian works of art are also on the list of products facing higher tariffs after the Government announcement, but three other major exporters of art are the US, France, Switzerland

Russian antiques are also affected, but the US, China and France are also big antique exporters

White fish is also among the products, but this can be bought from China, Norway and Vietnam

The Government said further details on the luxury goods that will come under the scope of the export ban will follow ‘in due course’.

Britain exported £193 million of goods to Russia in January alone and £3billion in 2021.

UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, has also supported £189.9 million of exports to Russia since the 2014 invasion of Crimea, mostly for oil and mining companies and for deals involving companies whose owners have now been sanctioned by either the US, EU or UK.

Another £7.6million was supported for exports to Belarus in the same period.

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