Virginia ABC stores are contributing to the protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine by removing Russian vodka brands from store shelves.
On Sunday afternoon, Virginia announced that its state liquor stores would remove Russian vodka brands from store shelves. Later on Sunday, Montgomery County, Maryland decided to do the same.
In Virginia the pressure to pull bottles began to intensify on Saturday.
“In the spirit of Governor Yangkin’s call for decisive action in support of Ukraine, Virginia ABC is removing Russian vodka stamps from the shelves of our stores,” the store said Sunday through an email blast and in a Facebook post.
Seven brands that will no longer be available in Virginia ABC stores:
- Sickle and hammer
- Russian standard
The agency, which runs nearly 400 stores across the state, said brands with Russian names based elsewhere, such as Stolichnaya and Smirnoff, would remain on the shelves.
The state has a monopoly on the retail sale of alcoholic beverages, so the decision to remove these brands will affect every store across the Commonwealth.
Yangkin said Saturday that “Soviet dictator Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine cannot stand it” before announcing a series of actions that would sever Virginia’s ties with Russia.
Among them was an inspection order to determine whether any state taxes were being spent on goods and services of Russian companies, and a request from the cities of Norfolk and Roanoke to end the partnership between the twin cities with Russian cities.
Yangkin also wants the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Pension System and university funds to withdraw all holdings of the Russian ruble, as well as all securities in Russian companies.
Changes in Maryland
When news surfaced in Virginia, stories of similar efforts began to spread across the Potomac River in Maryland.
UFCW Local 1994, a union representing civil servants in Maryland, asked Montgomery County Governor Mark Elrich and the District Alcohol Service to “stop stocks of Russian vodka and other products in our county’s retail stores.”
County stores have a number of the same brands noted in the Virginia decision.
“We do not want to touch on this now,” union president Gina Renne said in a press release.
“Ukrainians are being hunted and killed by the government, which represents Russian brands. These bottles should go off the shelves today. It’s a small gesture of support and an opportunity to inform the public about what happens when they see that these brands have disappeared. “
On Sunday night, Elrich issued a statement saying Montgomery County would stop selling Russian alcohol.
“In solidarity with the people of Ukraine, all products made in Russia were exported,” said the head of the district.
In addition, the district’s restaurants and bars, which have to order their supplies from the ABS, will not be able to order Russian-made products. But the county’s cessation order does not prevent these places from selling the vodka they already have.
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