Depardieu announces plans to make 'organic Russian vodka'
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French-born actor Gérard Depardieu, who secured Russian citizenship last year in a bid to avoid high French taxes, has announced plans to open a distillery to manufacture organic vodka in Russia.
"I know more people [like] drinking wine than strong liquour, but vodka is a party drink," he said.
The flamboyant French-born actor owns several vineyards.
"This will be my first venture into strong alcohol, and I hope it works," he told the Itar-Tass news agency on Monday.
Two weeks ago the actor revealed that he wanted to open his own restaurant – to be named "Gérard" – in Moscow. The bon vivant already owns a string of restaurants in France and Belgium.
Depardieu is perhaps better known for his thirst for spirits than his expertise in making them. Last month he was fined €4,000 for drunk driving after he was arrested in November 2012 for drunkenly falling off his scooter.
He missed the premiere of his latest film, "Welcome To New York" – where he plays disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn – at the Edinburgh Film Festival last month after spending an evening sampling local whiskies and "attacking a haggis" on Scotland's Isle of Syke.
The after-party following the film's unofficial screening at Cannes this year also raised some eyebrows. Among the drink options was something called the "Viagra cocktail". And "Dirty sex" kits were distributed to guests.
Depardieu, 65, has also said he wants to open another restaurant serving Franco-Russian cuisine, as well as an arts centre in Saransk, the capital of Mordovia, where he is now officially domiciled.
Depardieu became a Russian citizen in 2013 after leaving France in protest against President François Hollande's now-stalled plan to impose a 75 percent tax on the country's highest earners.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)