In the face of suspension of sales of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in Russia, Cola makers Chernogolovka hope to quench Russians’ thirst even at large US fast food chains.
Chernogolovka, a beverage company named after the town outside Moscow where it was founded in 1998, told Reuters on Wednesday it has doubled its presence in hotels, restaurants and cafes so far this year, and now supplies Russian and Kentucky Burger King outlets.
“We believe this is far from the permissible limit,” the company told this outlet in response to questions. “Since April, Burger King and Kentucky have been supplied with Chernogolovka drinks.”
In addition to Cola Chernogolovka, its brands include Baikal, an energy drink named after the Siberian Lake, and Duchess, a lemonade, both sold at Burger King and KFC.
“We are in talks to expand the range of drinks we supply to this chain,” Chernogolovka said of Burger King.
Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc suspended sales of soft drinks in Russia in early March, joining several Western consumer brands that have scaled back their operations in the country in the face of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
Pepsi, in particular, has a long history in Russia, going back to the Cold War, when then-US Vice President Richard Nixon was photographed introducing it to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at an exhibition in Moscow.
Pepsi sent cola to the Soviets in exchange for Stolichnaya vodka to sell in America.
Burger King, run by parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc (RBI), cut corporate support for its Russia outlets last March, but is stuck in a complex legal web, unable to break out of its association or close nearly 800 outlets. .
KFC, which is owned by Yum Brands Inc., has halted investments in Russia and suspended operations of 70 restaurants it owns there, but Yum has limited control over the independent franchisees who operate most of the 1,000 locations still open.
An RBI spokesperson said Burger King is not involved in day-to-day operations in Russia. Yum Brands did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reuters report, edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)