Why Some U.S. Liquor Stores Are Pulling Russian Products From Shelves

Liquor stores across the United States are supporting Ukraine following the Russian invasion by pulling Russian-made products from their shelves. According to Deseret News, the governors of both New Hampshire and Utah have issued executive orders mandating a cease-sale of liquors from Russia, and Ohio has banned the sale of Russian vodka in its stores. "Russia's ruthless attack on a sovereign nation is an egregious violation of human rights. Utah stands in solidarity with Ukraine and will not support Russian enterprises, no matter how small the exchange," said Utah's governor, Spencer Cox.

However, as more U.S. liquor stores pull Russian-made products from their shelves to back Ukraine, CNN points out that the boycotts are mostly symbolic, as according to the Distilled Spirits Council vodkas from Russian make up little of the approximately $7 billion sold annually in the United States and that only 1% of American vodka drinkers are buying Russian-made products.

Customers are purchasing Ukrainian vodka at record rates

Southern Spirits, a South Carolina liquor store that stopped selling Russian products, began instead to promote the sale of Kozak, a Ukrainian vodka, and has been selling out of the liquor, something Drew Podrebarac, the store's general manager, calls "awesome" (via Deseret News). Similarly, Jacob Liquor Exchange, a Kansas-based store, pulled their inventory of over 100 Russian vodka bottles and even poured some out. "I guess this is our sanction ... and this may be small, but every small thing makes a difference," said Jamie Stratton, the store's wine director (via Fox News).

Jacob Liquor Exchange announced their decision on Instagram with a pic featuring the empty spot on the shelf with a sign that reads, "WE DO NOT SUPPORT RUSSIA," and a caption that states in part, "Bye bye Russian Vodka ... you are not worthy of a space on our shelf!" Customers took to the comments to express their support with one Instagrammer writing, "YAS!!!! I'm coming in for Ukrainian vodka tomorrow!"