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Removing Russian-made products from government-run stores “is just the right thing to do,” one official said.
Many states and counties around the U.S. are removing all Russian-produced, branded liquor and wine products in solidarity with Ukraine, which has been under military attack from Russia since last week.
Below is a roundup of some of the states and counties that have taken action against Russia so far.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ordered all Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores and licensee service centers to remove Russian-made products from shelves, including Russian-made Special-Order products. However, they will not be removing the sales of Russian-branded products as it could "unfairly and adversely impact those brands."
“These products will no longer be sold or procured by the PLCB,” board chairperson Tim Holden said in a statement.” Given the evolving political-economic climate, it’s just the right thing to do.”
Today I sent a letter to the Liquor Control Board urging them to remove Russian-sourced products from stores and cease selling them ASAP.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) February 27, 2022
Pennsylvania stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control estimates that there are approximately 6,400 bottles of vodka made by Russian Standard for sale in Ohio's 487 liquor agencies across the state. The DOLC has directed these retailers to stop the purchase and sale of all vodka made by Russian Standard until further notice.
Today I directed @OhioCommerce to cease both the purchase & sale of all vodka made by Russian Standard, the only overseas, Russian-owned distillery with vodka sold in Ohio. Russian Standard's vodka is sold under the brand names of Green Mark Vodka & Russian Standard Vodka.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) February 26, 2022
In addition, Gov. Mike DeWine declared Sunday, Feb. 27 a statewide “Day of Prayer” for the people of Ukraine. The Ukrainian flag will fly over the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
On this Day of Prayer in Ohio, Fran and I attended Sunday church service at St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma to stand in solidarity with Ohio's Ukrainian community. #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/2LXxkNI9J0— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) February 27, 2022
Montgomery County, Maryland
On Sunday, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released a statement that said all products produced in Russia have been removed from the county’s Alcohol Beverage Services stores. While ABS wholesale customers and licensees are allowed to make their own decisions about the availability of Russian-made products, they cannot purchase these products from ABS.
"There will be an opportunity to purchase popular non-Russian-made vodkas, including Smirnoff, Ciroc, Tito's, Absolut, Svedka, Grey Goose, SKYY, Ketel One and New Amsterdam," Elrich added.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed an executive order directing the state Liquor and Wine Outlets to remove Russian-made and branded spirits.
Sununu told News 9 the state sells around $20 million of Russian-based liquor products a year, and added that the move is not only symbolic but could have some impact on the Russian liquor industry.
This morning I signed an Executive Order instructing @nhliquorwine outlets to begin removing Russian-made and Russian-branded spirits from our liquor and wine outlets until further notice.— Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) February 26, 2022
New Hampshire stands with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom.
Gov. Spencer J. Cox also issued an executive order mandating the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to remove all Russian-produced and Russian-branded products from its shelves immediately as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts “millions of lives at risk” and represents an “all-out assault on democracy.”
“Russia’s ruthless attack on a sovereign nation is an egregious violation of human rights,” Cox said in a statement. “Utah stands in solidarity with Ukraine and will not support Russian enterprises, no matter how small the exchange.”
It's been a while since I had the time or energy to write. But it turns out my fingers still work. I hope you will take a minute to read: "I had no idea that it would take us all becoming Ukrainians to remind us what it means to be Americans." https://t.co/bF5QG5anGM— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) February 28, 2022
While Alabama has not removed Russian liquor from the state’s ABC Stores yet, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey sent a letter to the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board asking to move forward.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts millions of innocent lives at risk and represents an all-out assault on our democracy,” Ivey said in the letter. “It is my hope that, by taking this action, the state of Alabama may contribute to Russia’s justly deserved-and increasing-economic isolation.”
While these boycotts may sound largely symbolic, Russian-made vodka accounts for a small percentage of the roughly $7 billion in annual vodka sales, Distilled Spirits Council, a national trade organization that represents spirits makers, told CNN Business.
Less than 1% of vodka consumed in the U.S. is produced in Russia. In fact, more than half of all vodka consumed domestically is made here, according to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, a global firm that tracks alcohol sales.
Vodka imported from Russia has been on the decline for several years, and is down 79% since 2011, DISCUS added.
Andre Claudio is an assistant editor at Route Fifty.
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