Freeport-based distillery wants to give out vodka

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KENNEBUNKPORT (AP) – Demonstrators plan to attack Russian President Vladimir Putin over his policies in Chechnya during his visit to Walker’s Point. But Maine Distilleries plans to welcome him with bottles of vodka.

The Freeport-based distillery is delivering eight bottles of its pricey Cold River Vodka to Putin and the seven members of his delegation, said Bob Harkins, CEO of Maine Distilleries, who plans to personally drive the vodka to Kennebunkport.

“This is kind of a fun thing,” Harkins said Friday, two days before Putin’s arrival in Maine. “We have an opportunity to provide the president of Russia and his delegation with a gift of a local, Maine handcrafted vodka.”

Harkins would like to think that it’d be served up during Putin’s summit with President Bush, but Bush is a teetotaler and Putin is rarely seen imbibing. He has been seen on television in Russia drinking beer.

At $32.99-a-bottle, Cold River is aimed at the top of the shelf occupied by super premium vodkas like Grey Goose and Chopin. Made from Maine potatoes and water from an aquifer fed by the Cold River, it is distributed across the six New England states and three other states.

AP-ES-06-29-07 1639EDT

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