Updated Feb 28, 2022 - Economy & Business

Russian vodka being removed from shelves in U.S. and Canada

Bottles of Russian Standard Vodka seen on the shelf at an LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on February 25, 2022
Russian Standard Vodka in Ontario, Canada. Photo: Creative Touch Imaging Ltd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Some liquor stores and bars in the U.S. and Canada are taking Russian vodka off their shelves in protest of President Vladimir Putin's military invasion of Ukraine.

The latest: On Sunday, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which is one of the largest buyers of wines and spirits in the U.S., ordered the removal of Russian spirits from state-run liquor stores.

The big picture: Pennsylvania is not alone.

Meanwhile, Ontario, Canada's most populous province, directed its liquor control board to withdraw all Russian products, Reuters reports, and liquor stores in the provinces of Manitoba and Newfoundland also said they were removing Russian spirits.

Zoom in: Jamie Stratton, partner and wine director of Jacob Liquor Exchange in Wichita, told KSNW Friday that he had removed more than 100 bottles of Russian vodka and expanded its section of Ukrainian vodka.

  • "I think the whole world knows by now that Russia’s at war with Ukraine for no apparent reason," Stratton said. "I guess this is our sanction."
  • Magic Mountain, a ski resort in Vermont, tweeted a video clip of a bartender pouring Stoli down the drain and saying: "Sorry, we don't sell Russian products here."
  • A bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan, also removed bottles of Stolichnaya and Smirnoff from shelves, M Live reports. "It’s a protest against the aggression," said the bar's owner, Bob Quay. "I just made the decision on the spot. It’s something little we can do."

Between the lines: Some establishments appear to be making a statement of support for Ukraine as well as raising funds for humanitarian efforts.

  • Evel Pie, a bar in Las Vegas, announced it's boycotting Russian-made vodka. It's now selling shots of Ukrainian liquor, with 100% of the proceeds to benefit humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.
  • "Our focus first and foremost is helping the Ukrainian people," managing partner Branden Powers told the Las Vegas Sun.

Go deeper: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the orders by the governors of Utah and Ohio and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's announcement.

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