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Virginia to remove Russian-sourced vodka brands from state liquor stores

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, seen in a July 2021 file photo, has called for the state to take action in support of Ukraine. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced Sunday morning that it was removing seven Russian-sourced vodka brands from its shelves.

The state-run liquor store system attributed the decision to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s call on Saturday for the state to take “decisive action” in support of Ukraine.

Sen. Louise Lucas also tweeted Saturday morning, calling on Youngkin to order the removal of all Russian products from the ABC stores.

The vodka brands to be removed include Beluga, Hammer & Sickle, Imperia, Mamont, Organika, Russian Standard and ZYR.

The stores will not be removing products such as Stolichnaya and Smirnoff, which are Russian-themed but not produced in Russia. Smirnoff is owned by Diageo, which is based in London, and is manufactured in Illinois.

Virginia ABC said in a Facebook post it would be reviewing its other products to determine whether they have origins in Russia.

Leaders in Ohio, Utah and New Hampshire have made similar calls for liquor stores to remove the products, according to a report from CNN.

The report said the move is largely symbolic since less than 1% of vodka consumed in the United States is produced in Russia.

Youngkin has also ordered the state’s Department of General Services to review state procurement of goods and services involving Russian companies.

The governor also called for Norfolk and Roanoke to end their sister city partnerships with Russian cities.


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