Bolshoi in Russia: How to get women to drink more vodka

Greetings from Moscow! Bolshoi in Russia is my variation on Big in Japan. (Bolshoi means “Big” in Russian. Get it?) Stay tuned for my live dispatches from Russia this week.

I have never seen a bigger vodka selection than a vodka isle in any supermarket in Russia. There must, literally, be hundreds of vodkas to choose from. The selection ranges from bottles with generic titles, costing as little as $2, to fancy labels that will set you back hundreds. I personally, liked Russian Standard, which is really tasty when served frozen (keep the bottle in the freezer as they do here). It doesn’t give you a hangover as far as I could tell. Don’t try to prove me wrong, please.

Vodka, however, is a man’s drink in Russia. Local demographic stats suggest that: an average Russian man has a life expectancy of only 59 years. Thanks to excessive vodka drinking, of course! Women can expect to live a full 14 years longer.

That might be a thing of the past, however. Vodka-marketers have discovered that in order to increase their sales, they must start marketing to women. That is the short story of Damskaya vodka, literally “ladies’ vodka”, a feminine take on the lethal clear liquor favored primarily by men. “Between us girls,” is the catchphrase for this vodka, IHT reports. Needless to say, doctors are not happy about where this campaign could lead…

From Russia, with love.