Some U.S. governors calling for removal of Russian vodka, products

U.S.

FILE – An empty space on a liquor shelf where Russian vodka used to be located at The Sidetrack, a gay bar on the north side of Chicago, July 29, 2013. The United States and Europe are slapping official sanctions on Russian banks and tech companies.  But bars and liquor stores across America and Canada have found another way to punish Russia for invading Ukraine: They’re pulling Russian vodka off their shelves and promoting Ukrainian brands instead. (AP Photo/Scott Eisen)

(NEXSTAR) – While the U.S. has already imposed official sanctions against Russia, some states are taking it upon themselves to pose economic pain following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Bars and liquor stores throughout the U.S. and Canada have already begun removing Russian vodka and other liquor from their shelves. A handful of governors are now encouraging – and in some cases, ordering – businesses in their states to go even further. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered the state’s Department of Commerce to stop buying and selling vodka made by Russian Standard, the only Russian-owned vodka distillery selling the spirit in Ohio. In a statement from DeWine’s office, the Division of Liquor Control estimates there are approximately 6,400 bottles of Russian vodka currently on sale in the state’s liquor stores, WCMH reports.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Saturday that he is asking members of the state’s Restaurant Association, Package Stores Association and other retailers to “voluntarily remove all Russian products from their shelves.” According to KXAN, some have already done so and are even looking to bring in more Ukrainian products.

Gov. Tom Wolf is asking the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to remove Russian-sourced products from stores in the Commonwealth. He says the board has already identified Russian-sourced products currently being sold at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, but is urging for sales to cease as quickly as possible, WJET reports.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox have both issued executive orders requiring their state liquor outlets to remove all Russian-produced and Russian-branded products. 

Two other states are looking deeper into the government-related connections they have with Russia.

Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin has called for the Commonwealth and local governments to sever ties with Russian entities. In a statement shared with WRIC, Youngkin said he was directing the Department of General Services, which oversees the state’s contracts with private companies, to determine whether any public money was being spent on “goods and services from primarily Russian companies.”

As of Sunday, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control has removed seven Russian-sourced vodka brands from shelves, WAVY reports.

Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado has directed his state’s Office of Information Technology and the Department of Personnel and Administration to look through current state contracts to see if there are any Russian state-owned companies currently doing business with Colorado. Any found will be terminated, KDVR reports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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