Despite President Vladmir Putin’s stringent measures against alcohol in Russia, booze titan Beam feels confident about its goal of doubling sales in the country by 2015. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the maker of brands like Jim Beam and Courvoisier has found success by marketing toward wealthy Russians, who have shown an increasing preference of whiskey over vodka. Sales have grown 48 percent in 2011.

Putin implemented a ban of “late-night alcohol sales, outdoor drinking in public areas, and booze ads on television, radio, and billboards are banned. That’s on top of a 200 percent increase in beer taxes in 2010.” Given the limitations placed on the alcohol industry in the country, Beam had to come up with creative hype strategies like coordinating “golf events and tastings at yacht clubs.”

Ultimately, it’s clear that the company’s success has been all about lifestyle marketing: “For many wealthy Russians, American-made whiskey is as much about status as inebriation, and buying the product has become part of the experience.”

Call us old-fashioned, but there’s something sad about the thought of Russian oligarchs sipping bourbon instead of vodka. It just doesn’t feel right.

[via Bloomberg Businessweek]