Liquor stores across Connecticut halt sales of Russian-made vodka in support of Ukraine

Russian Standard Vodka is one of the most popular Russian-made brands of vodka and can usually be found in liquor stores across the US.

Photo by Achim Raschka on Wikimedia Commons

Russian Standard Vodka is one of the most popular Russian-made brands of vodka and can usually be found in liquor stores across the US.

As of Feb. 24, many liquor suppliers across Connecticut have removed Russian-made vodka from their shelves in solidarity with Ukraine.

In an article from CT Insider, Blake Leonard, Vice President of Stew Leonard’s Wine and Spirits discusses the retailer’s choice to discontinue sales of Russian-made products. Their locations range from not only Connecticut but also New York and New Jersey.

“After witnessing last week’s events, my family and I spoke about how we could best show our support for Ukraine,” Blake Leonard said. “All Russian-made products — specifically vodka — are no longer carried at Stew Leonard’s Wines & Spirits.”

Other local liquor stores in Westport, like Greens Farms Spirit Shop, are making the decision to stop sales of Russian-made liquor as well.

“When I brought up that the situation was happening or going around, one of the managers said that we only had one bottle and someone came in and bought it,” Ryan Filippone, a cashier and delivery personnel for Greens Farms Spirit Shop, said. “We don’t really plan on restocking the shelf with any more […] from my knowledge.”

As reported by the Hartford Courant, The Connecticut Package Stores Association’s executive director, Jean Cronin, addressed a message to members on Feb. 28 regarding the possibility to ban Russian-made products.

“Although we are subject to antitrust laws in organizing any boycott of Russian produced spirits,” Cronin said, “we encourage our member package stores to use their discretion and to follow their conscience in making individual decisions to remove Russian spirits in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”

“All Russian-made products — specifically vodka — are no longer carried at Stew Leonard’s Wines & Spirits.”

— Blake Leonard

According to data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, just 1.2% of Russian vodka is imported to the United States. Therefore, banning Russian-made vodka will not have a significant effect on Russia financially.

“I’m not sure if it would affect too much business with our industry,” Filippone said. “One of the main [Russian-made products] with our store would be vodka and we don’t really have much stock anyway, so I don’t think it would affect too much in the future or whatever outcome comes up from it.”

As a result, the act more so reflects the Westport community’s support for Ukraine.

“Those who wanted to make this stand and everything, they kind of get to show Russia that they can’t just bully people around,” Filippone said. “There is always going to be a response.”