Saturday, February 25, 2006

Personally, I'd opt for more and better

Usually, I recommend avoiding Russian millionaires because they tend to get jailed or, you know, assassinated but Roustam Tariko is growing on me:

"Tariko, 44, a Russian tycoon who made his initial fortune in importing and banking...spent more than $3 million, inviting more than 1,000 people to the September event and feeding them Beluga caviar, blinis, quail eggs and, of course, red borscht - all washed down with his red-capped, $35-a-bottle Imperia vodka. 'I believe in emotional branding,' Tariko said this week in Moscow, freshly returned from Turin and the well-reported parties at Russia House in the Olympic village. 'I launched Imperia at the Statue of Liberty because I wanted to use something symbolic. I like American society because it always wants to do something new and better.'"

The communist-to-brand-storyteller transition was apparently a smooth one for Tariko, wasn't it? And he's right about us. "'A middle-class man making $40,000 might not be able to buy a new BMW,' said David Ozgo, chief economist at the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council. 'But he can buy the occasional bottle of vodka for $35 a bottle. People are drinking less than they once did, but they are drinking better.'"

So it's a great time to be a seller of superpremium liquor. AND it's a great time to be a middle-class American. Yay!

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