"Our ambition is to build as strong a reputation in the vodka world as Patek Philippe has among watches or Hermes does in fashion," Mechetin said.
The label, which means "great sturgeon" in Russian, is named after the fish from the Red List of threatened species whose roe is sold as caviar. First produced in the Russian town of Mariinsk in December 2002, Beluga entered Europe in 2009. The U.S. and east Asia followed a year later.
To associate with the luxury end of the vodka market, Beluga advertises at events including polo, yachting and Russian art exhibitions. It was featured in Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull's videoclip "Live It Up," which has gathered more than 110 million hits on the Web.
Still, the brand remains a distant competitor to global giants, selling 263,000 cases last year compared with Bacardi's Grey Goose's 3.9 million and Diageo's Ciroc's 2.4 million, according to researcher IWSR. Belvedere, owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, shipped 797,000 cases.
"Russians get very excited about Beluga because they see it as the best premium vodka, but it actually doesn't have much distribution outside the country and it's tiny" compared with Grey Goose and Ciroc on a global scale, said Trevor Stirling, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
Synergy shares have slid 26 percent this year, compared with a 2.8 percent drop in Russia's benchmark Micex Index, valuing the company at about $380 million.
Success for Beluga will depend on making the brand bigger abroad amid a declining market for vodka at home, where consumption of the drink has dropped about 17 percent in the past five years. That may be a more pronounced challenge at the moment, given the escalating tensions between Russia and western countries such as the U.S. or U.K. Russia banned the import of many agricultural products for the U.S. and European countries this month. The embargo doesn't apply to liquor.
"There is a risk that the West's negative sentiment towards Russian politics could translate into sentiment toward Russian vodka as well," said Ivan Kushch, an analyst at VTB Capital in Moscow, whose parent VTB Group was included in the European Union's sanctions list.
International demand for Beluga is still rising, Mechetin said. Exports increased 35 percent in the first half of this year, following a 17 percent gain last year, which was driven by the U.S. and duty-free segment globally.
An excise-tax rise in Russia has boosted vodka prices this year, pushing lower-income customers toward cheaper bootlegged versions and wealthier Russians toward other hard liquor.
While Russian legal alcohol production fell 16 percent in the first half, Synergy's shipments slid only 8 percent helped by exports and sales of imported drinks.
Mechetin is optimistic about the future. Beluga got a boost when singer Justin Timberlake mentioned it a recent Moscow concert.
"We have different, and sometimes unexpected, customers," Mechetin said.
Timberlake may have enjoyed it too much. He joked at the concert that a man told him to drink Beluga "and that's the last thing I remember."
— With assistance from Clementine Fletcher in London.