Shortly after touting its latest creation, the Novichok Edition vodka, Bristol Dry Gin Micro Distillery apologized for this marketing move after numerous complaints posted on the company Facebook page.
The product, described as a "smooth drinking spirit" which is "no laughing matter", was originally advertised on Bristol Dry Gin’s Instagram page on July 7, about a day before the death of Dawn Sturgess, an Amesbury resident who was allegedly poisoned by Novichok nerve agent.
"It was intended to lighten the mood and ease tensions, not to cause offence, and reaction has been overwhelming positive. We sincerely apologize if any offence was caused, especially to the families of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, and understand the timing of the release of this product may have lacked sensitivity," the statement said.
The company also claimed that the vodka was named and released after Skripals’ recovery, and that it was only a limited edition which already got sold out and won’t be manufactured in the future.
Some Twitter users however appeared to appreciate the new vodka brand name, claiming that it was a fine example of classic British “black humor.”
as a containment specialist I would have to say 'of a type developed by Russia' @OksanaBoyko_RT— D'ARAMITZ (@2ndNewMoon) 11 июля 2018 г.
Never apologise and never explain, classic British humour lost on the perpetually offended.— Jason Gregory (@JasonGregory6) 11 июля 2018 г.
Classic British "black humour", incomprehensible to the modern generation.— John Welsh (@John1_Welsh) 11 июля 2018 г.
Dawn Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley were found unconscious at Rowley’s residence on June 30, after allegedly discovering and handling a container of Novichok nerve agent.
Both were quickly hospitalized, and on July 9 Sturgess passed away.
Earlier in March, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were also allegedly poisoned by Novichok.
Shortly afterwards, British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible but presented no evidence to substantiate the accusation, which Moscow vehemently denied.
The ensuing scandal resulted in a massive expulsion of diplomats by the UK and its allies and Russia, while Yulia and her father managed to recover mere weeks after their alleged poisoning and were taken to an undisclosed location by British authorities shortly after being discharged from hospital.