Bars And Liquor Stores Nationwide Are Ditching This Product

By Joseph Farago | 3 months ago

russian vodka

A well-known beverage is being discarded in the U.S. due to rising geopolitical tensions. After Russia invaded Ukraine last week, countries worldwide started to divest from Russia and enforce specific sanctions. Though it’s not mandatory in the U.S., many showed solidarity with Ukraine by throwing away their Russian vodka.

Though Russian vodka only makes up a tiny fraction of spirits sold in the United States, bar owners, households, and government officials are ditching the product extensively. Grocery stores and bars have started to remove the liquor from shelves and refuse to sell it for the time being. Though not generally helpful to solve the international dispute, this commitment to remove Russian vodka displays the unwavering American support for Ukraine.

Governors from several states joined the vodka-dumping movement this past Saturday. Texas governor Greg Abbott tweeted a statement asking bar owners to remove Russian vodka from their shelves voluntarily. Other state officials followed suit, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah governors. Utah’s governor issued an executive order for stores to remove Russian vodka from their inventory, to show the state’s contempt for Russia’s human rights violations. With the threats of world war looming, American legislatures are doing everything they can to display peaceful acts of resistance.

Locals and their businesses have also gotten in on the solidarity action. In Las Vegas, the restaurant Evel Pie pizzeria made headlines by pouring out all their Russian vodka and replacing them with Ukrainian liquors. The owners also sold discounted Russian vodkas and donated that money to the International Rescue Committee for Ukraine. The Evel Pie owners did include that the intention for the resold vodka is for “pouring out only.”

Other businesses are joining in on the Russian vodka dumping bandwagon that may have benefited from doing research preceding the event. Bend, Oregon’s Pine Tavern removed and then dumped all bottles of their Stolichnaya vodka, making headlines around the state. Unfortunately for Pine Tavern owners, this spirit is not technically a Russian export. Though the stunt did give the restaurant publicity, the dumping of this spirit may not have been necessary.

Though Russia and vodka are terms that many United States citizens pair together, its vodka exports here are relatively minimal. It ranks as the sixth exporting nation for Vodka in the U.S., making up only 1.3% of total imports. The annual revenue for Russian vodka is at $18 million, far below other countries exporting spirits to America. Though the acts of solidarity are helpful visually, the vodka dumping doesn’t have a significant financial impact on Russia.

Smirnoff, a company most Americans associate with Russia, has nothing to do with the Eastern European country anymore. Though the brand was founded in Russia, Smirnoff is now owned by Diageo, which produces this vodka in plants all over the United States. For those attempting to dump out this former Russian vodka, the physical impact on the nation is slim to none.

With U.S. citizens so far from the atrocious violence carried out by the Soviet military, it’s challenging to support Ukraine from overseas effectively. Though dumping out Russian vodka indeed makes headlines, this yields no significant consequences for Russia’s economy.