Why Pouring Out Your Favorite Vodka Won’t Help Ukraine

The CEO of Stoli–which is no longer made in Russia–said “we are absolutely not a Russian company” and voiced support for Ukraine.

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After a coalition of nations slammed Russia with stiff sanctions for its attack on Ukraine, some U.S. governors have joined the fray by calling for a ban on Russian vodka.

But despite semi-viral videos like a Vermont ski lodge bartender pouring a bottle of Stoli down the drain, only a tiny fraction of vodka is even made in Russia anymore.

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Less than one percent of U.S. vodka came from Russia in 2021, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. But, as Gear Patrol points out, that hasn’t stopped the governors of Utah and Ohio from trying to capitalize on the outrage by calling for “Russian” vodka to be pulled from liquor store shelves.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox issued an executive order that required liquor stores to remove Russian-produced and Russian-made products from its shelves, citing “Russia’s ruthless attack on a sovereign nation [as] an egregious violation of human rights.”

In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine directed liquor stores to halt the sale of all vodka made by Russian Standard, the only Russian-owned distillery with vodkas sold in Ohio under the brand names Green Mark Vodka and Russian Standard Vodka.

These Russian boycotts are hardly going to do anything to Russia’s economy…Vodka these days are mostly produced outside of Russia, and some is even distilled in the United States. But that distinction hasn’t stopped some from misconstruing all vodka as having come from Russia.

On February 24, a tweet showing a video of a bartender at a Vermont ski resort dumping out a bottle of Stolichnaya vodka raised eyebrows. “We don’t serve Russian products here,” the bartender says in the video.

However, Stoli is no longer made in Russia, and the company is based in Luxembourg. “With regard to us being Russian. We are absolutely not a Russian company,” Stoli Group global CEO Damian McKinney said in a written statement.

“We are a global organization with a significant portfolio of spirits and wine brands from around the world.” Stoli’s website also features a page notably supporting Ukraine.

Gear Patrol suggests vodka aficionados might “consider purchasing Ukrainian vodkas like KhorZirkova or Nemiroff” and/or donating to organizations like UNICEFSave the Children and CARE that are sending aid to Ukraine.

Once you have your favorite vodka in hand, check out Maxim’s guide to making 10 tasty vodka cocktails and our take on why the absolute best martinis are made with vodka.

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