Far more worrying than any dip in oil supplies is this news that a massive shortfall is predicted in Russian vodka production. Russians, as you would imagine, are taking the situation very seriously:
“Could Russia completely run out of vodka in 40 days?” was the apocalyptic front-page headline of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper yesterday, which published advice from a panel of politicians and celebrities on how to live without vodka and a cartoon of a man wringing a bottle of vodka as if it were wet laundry so as to extract every last drop.
And why this vodka distilling crisis?
The cause of the chaos is an anti-counterfeiting law which came into force on 1 January, stipulating that every bottle of vodka must carry an excise duty stamp. Not enough of the new labels were made, and most of those that were have not yet made it to factories.
Without wishing to fuel any panic, I think it only fair to inform you that I’m off to clear my local supermarket’s shelves of vodka.