State Orders Russian-Made Vodka Pulled from Liquor Store Shelves

The state has directed Oregon’s independently owned and operated liquor stores to pull all Russian-made distilled spirits as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Effective immediately, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission said in a press release Monday it has stopped fulfilling orders for Russian-made liquor while liquor store owners are taking bottles off shelves.

The affected brands include Russian Standard, Hammer + Sickle, Beluga, Jewel of Russia, Imperial, Mamont, Zyr, Forty Degrees, Green Mark, Kutskova, Russian Ice and St. Petersburg Russian Vodka.

The OLCC said liquor stores across the state are also banned from filling a customer “special order” request for Russian-made liquor.

Other foreign and domestic brands of vodka, including ones that have Russian names but do not originate from the country itself, are still available for purchase in Oregon.

By pulling 5,000 bottles of Russia-made liquor from more than 280 outlets, the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission said it would sequester the remaining supply — more than 6,200 bottles — in its Portland warehouse.

Other states also have banned the sale of Russian products in an effort to damage Russia’s economy after Ukraine was invaded, the OLCC said.

“The OLCC understands that there are times when we must respond to a higher calling in the interest of humanity, and this is a but a small step the OLCC and the State of Oregon can take,” OLCC chair Paul Rosenbaum said in the press release.

The economic sanctions by the United States and its allies are “designed to bring this conflict to an end,” the OLCC said, though the ban itself is likely to have a limited impact. Less than 1% of the vodka consumed in the U.S. is produced in Russia.

Governor Kate Brown emphasized that the vodka ban was directed at the Kremlin, not the Russian people.

Oregon is home to more than 100,000 Russian-speaking refugees and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, many of whom live in the Portland metro area and communities such as Woodburn and Canby.

“The actions of the Russian government are not the actions of the Russian people,” Brown said in a statement. “We value our Russian community here in Oregon, and many Russian families are being impacted by this conflict.”

Earlier Monday, Christine Drazan, Canby’s former state representative and a leading Republican candidate for governor, had demanded such action on Russian liquor.

“The people of Ukraine are bravely standing up to a totalitarian regime that has invaded their country,” Drazan said in a statement.

“We must send a message of solidarity with Ukraine by halting the sale of Russian-sourced liquor in Oregon. I urge the governor to take this action without delay.”

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