American hotel and restaurant business owners are showing their support for Ukraine in light of Russia’s attacks by renaming Moscow Mules – a popular drink usually made from ginger beer, lemon juice lime and vodka.
Menu items and product lines had references to the Russian capital erased and were later replaced with Ukrainian city names, patriotic terms and calls for peace across the United States.
Andrea Minoo, owner and operator of Bond Bar and Lounge in San Francisco, told FOX Business that her establishment renamed its Moscow Mule offering to Kyiv Mule after Russia invaded Ukraine.
“We started the name change to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine,” Minoo wrote in an email. “To draw attention to the tenacity of the Ukrainian people. And that we support the free world in their defense. We hope that cool heads will prevail and that this will end as soon as possible.”
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Ukraine’s capital – Kyiv – has become a top pick among companies renaming the Moscow Mule.
Kyiv Mule was chosen as the drink name at Baker Street Burgers in Rockford, Illinois, according to a Facebook post the restaurant shared on Wednesday, March 2.
“We have removed the Moscow Mule from our menu and added this,” the restaurant captioned its post. “Just like the Moscow Mule, but it’s made with @khor_usa, a Ukrainian vodka and we donate $1 for every product sold to @unicef_ukraine for their efforts to help innocent children in Ukraine.”
Baker Street Burgers but did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
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Kyiv Mule has also become the replacement drink for Madrone Art Bar, also located in San Francisco.
Initially, the bar renamed the drink Ukrainian Mule three days after Russia launched its attack on the democratic republic.
Madrone Art Bar owner Michael Krouse told FOX Business that he updated the drink’s name and made it a charity menu item that would help those directly affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Two dollars from each sale of Kyiv Mule, which is currently priced at $12, is donated to the Cares Ukraine Crises Fund.
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“We opted for Kyiv Mule and use Prime Vodka produced in Ukraine,” Krouse wrote in an email. “As to why: we want to show our support for the Ukrainian people and let them know that we appreciate their life.”
He continued: “We hope that by removing a top-selling Russian vodka and replacing it with a Ukrainian vodka and renaming it the Kyiv Mule, we are showing solidarity with the innocent people of Ukraine. Is it possible , even on a small scale, to influence behavior and awareness of how a person spends their [money]? I don’t know, but we’re making that effort.”
Krouse said Madrone Art Bar sold 131 Kiev mules last weekend and will continue to do so “as long as necessary.”
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‘Peace Mule’, ‘Ukrainian Mule’ and other brand changes
Ralph Lonow, owner and certified sommelier of Avenue M, a restaurant in Ashville, North Carolina, told FOX Business that the restaurant chose the Peace Mule name “to support Ukraine.”
“We own a restaurant in a small mountain town far removed from the war zone,” Lonow wrote in an email. “In a way, changing the name helps us stand with the people of Ukraine. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected. We pray for peace.”
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Other establishments are drawing attention on social media for renaming the popular cocktail.
Em Chamas Brazilian Grill in Kansas City chose to rename its Moscow Mule to Snake Island Mule, and Big Table Restaurants’ Cattle Shed Wine & Steak Bar in Atlanta chose to rename its Moscow Mule to Ukrainian Mule.
“Em Chamas will no longer serve Moscow Mule, instead we will serve our Snake Island Mule in support of the Ukrainian resistance and in honor of the brave soldiers of Snake Island,” the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post, on 26 February – two days after Russia launched its attack on the Ukrainian island.
The soldiers stationed there were initially believed to be dead, but were later revealed to have been captured, according to the Ukrainian Navy.
Em Chamas did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment, but the restaurant’s Facebook post mentions that “all proceeds from the Snake Island Mule will be donated to a charity supporting Ukraine” after the company will have done its review.
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The Cattle Shed Wine & Steak Bar has renamed its Moscow Mule offering to Ukrainian Mule, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Unlike other restaurants that temporarily changed the name of the drink, the Cattle Shed Wine & Steak Bar and other establishments in the Big Table Restaurants group chose to make the name change permanent, the newspaper reports.
FOX Business has contacted the Cattle Shed Wine & Steak Bar for comment.
Previously, FOX Business reported that Indiana liquor company Fuzzy’s Spirits, LLC launched a campaign to rebrand Moscow Mule as American Stallion to “strengthen democracy in every country.”
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Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and the struggle between the two countries is still ongoing.
Large and small companies have made public statements in favor of Ukraine.
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Abe Kasbo, CEO of marketing and public relations firm Verasoni Worldwide, told FOX Business that the Moscow Mule’s renaming is a “token” move that has good intentions, but he doubts the change will have any impact. sustainable.
“As history has shown with ‘Freedom Fries,’ there will be no short or long term impact to the Moscow Mule brand,” Kasbo said. “The public will have to hear ‘Kyiv Mule’ for years in the media, restaurants and bars at the same time and for years to eventually have a real impact and change the name.
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According to public relations expert Francis Perdue of Scooter P Entertainment, less than 5% of the vodka sold in the United States comes from Russia. Despite this statistic, she believes the war sparked interest in American vodka.
“Most large companies hire a crisis management ad agency or senior consultant like me before making any changes. [to their brand]”, Perdue said. “However, small businesses take on this function of avoiding gaffes or public mishaps by jumping at the potential loss of business by changing small things like the name of drinks or even getting rid of the Russian vodka.”
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Eric Fischgrund, CEO of FischTankPR, believes the Moscow Mule renaming is a business decision that makes people “feel good,” but it could also come from “social pressure” if it becomes a popular trend.
“Small business owners, especially in the restaurant industry, are trying to bounce back from the pandemic, and anything they can do to create a bit of buzz online or in the media is smart,” said Fischgrund at FOX Business.
“Given that the majority of Americans currently oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s a low-risk tactic, and of course it raises a certain level of conscience or patriotism that some people hang in there and make buying decisions,” he added. “Such is America.”
He went on to warn that companies – regardless of size – need to make sure their rebranding decisions are genuine or it could backfire if “consumers feel flattered”.
In his professional opinion, consumers can see through “an empty virtue signal.”
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Similarly, Michelle Burson, president of MarComm – a full-service marketing and communications organization – warns that companies should be careful when renaming Moscow Mules or another Russian-origin product because “consumers are fickle”. .
“The world loves Ukraine today, but awareness and compassion are growing for the Russian people who are also victims,” Burson said. “There is a clear difference between anti-Putin sentiment and anti-Russian sentiment.”
Burson added that business owners and marketing teams should consider whether their “establishment is a thought leader in politics, war, or international politics” before changing their name, otherwise they could “risk a ‘alienate or offend’ some of their clientele.
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“A better idea, and much more authentic, would be to offer a special menu item in favor of Ukraine,” Burson suggested. “Perhaps a special dessert or appetizer and all proceeds from the sale of this item will be donated to a legitimate organization that supports Ukraine.”