Business: Grain Waves

The superpowers vie over vodka

The U.S.S.R. and China are bristling again, but bordering countries can breathe easily—for the time being. The squabble is over vodka, specifically the 600,000 cases a year that are exported to the U.S. Although imports are a mere drop in the shaker compared with the total 30.7 million cases of vodka sold in the U.S. last year, the Soviets, with their Stolichnaya brand (on average, $10.50 for an 80-proof fifth), account for about 80% of import sales. Or did, until the invasion of Afghanistan set some flag-waving saloonkeepers to...

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