Mar 2, 2022 - News

Arkansas boycotts Russian liquor

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

You won't see Russian liquor on the shelves much longer in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

What's happening: Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that liquor distributors in Arkansas had agreed not to purchase any more Russian liquor.

  • Brands affected include Russian Standard, Beluga, Green Mark Vodka, Russian Value and Stroyski, according to a memo from Doralee Chandler, director of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control division.

Yes, but: Stores may still sell what they already have.

  • "While ABC's director could revoke these brands based in Russia, that would require all wholesalers and retailers to immediately remove all of these products," Scott Hardin, spokesperson at the Department of Finance and Administration, told Axios.
  • "This would ultimately hurt Arkansas businesses and not the brands as they have already been purchased by the wholesalers and retailers," he said.

What they're saying: We made calls to NWA liquor stores before the governor's announcement Tuesday and found a lack of consensus on how to handle Russian vodka.

  • Angkor Liquor and Wine in Rogers removed Russian vodka from its shelves.
  • An employee at Liquor World in Fayetteville told Axios the store had removed all Russian vodka from its shelves, too, but that it would sell the spirit if a customer asks for it.
  • An employee at the Macadoodles in Pineville, Missouri, said he was still waiting to hear from the owner what, if any, action to take.
  • Walmart has not responded to Axios inquiries about selling the spirit or removing Russian-made merchandise from its shelves.
  • Jim Phillips, who owns seven liquor stores in Springdale, including Cheers Liquor and Wine Shoppe, said the stores don't stock any Russian-made vodka. Though some brands he carries have Russian heritage and names, they're not made in that country.

Zoom out: Arkansas is not alone. Several other states and parts of Canada have halted liquor purchases from Russia, Axios' Erin Doherty writes.


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