What next? Freezers for Eskimos?

If someone told you Russians would be importing vodka, you'd truly know the world has been turned upside down. Or, upside from Down Under.

The Tamar Distillery, a new manufacturer operating at Beauty Point on the island of Tasmania off the southeast coast of Australia, has signed a six-year distribution deal for its Strait brand vodka after initial test events in Russia showed strong consumer and distributor reaction to its distillation.

Philip Ridyard, managing director of Tamar, said at a media event,"The Russian market is very sophisticated and we're looking to break into that area along with other imported spirits internationally.

"The main attraction is the quality of the wheat grain alcohol we're using and also the quality of the Tasmanian natural spring water. Water is so important as it provides the purity and the individual character of the vodka. No vodka is identical and our Russian colleagues were impressed with Tasmania's quality and disease-free attributes."

Plans call for eventually expanding the line to include Tasmanian fruit-based and spiced vodkas as well as fruit liqueurs and gin.

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