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28 Feb, 2022 12:25

Russian vodka pulled from US shelves

Some states were ordered to remove the Russian spirits from stores, while others were encouraged to do so voluntarily
Russian vodka pulled from US shelves

State-run liquor stores in some US states have been ordered to halt the sale of Russian-made vodkas, with governors saying the move was a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine over Moscow’s military offensive.

On Sunday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf urged the state’s Liquor Control Board to pull all Russian-made products from shelves at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores. In a statement, Wolf said that the move was meant as a “small show of solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine, and an expression of our collective revulsion” at Russia’s actions.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox joined the boycott on Saturday, saying his state would do its part to “push back on the Russian invaders and stand with our sisters and brothers in Ukraine.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott called on liquor stores and bars to halt the sale of Russian-made products; however, he said the final decision rests with business owners.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order instructing the New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet to “begin removing Russian-made and Russian-branded spirits from our liquor and wine outlets until further notice.

In Finland, liquor store chain Alko announced on Monday that it was suspending the sale of Russian products “in its stores and online store.” Explaining the move, the company’s vice president, Anu Koskinen, said that the “situation in Ukraine is exceptional and shocking” and the chain has “taken the situation seriously.

Similar actions were seen in Canada, with Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia provinces also ordering stores to suspend sales of the drinks.

Russian-made spirits account for just a drop in the ocean of vodka sold in the United States. Data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States shows that only 1.2% of vodka imported to the US in the first six months of 2021 originated from Russia.

Some Russian-styled vodka brands sold in the US are not imported from Russia. For instance, Stolichnaya vodka available stateside comes from the Stoli Group company in Latvia, which was quick to distance itself from Russia’s military action in Ukraine, saying that it “stands for peace” and in “solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

On February 24, Russia launched what President Vladimir Putin termed as a “special military operation” in Ukraine, which according to Moscow seeks to “demilitarize and denazify” the country in order to protect the people of the newly recognized Donbass republics. Ukraine and Western nations have condemned the military offensive, saying it was unjustified and unprovoked, claiming that Moscow is attempting to install a pro-Russia puppet government in Kiev.