South Florida Sun Sentinel |
Mar 02, 2022 at 1:17 PM
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Publix will remove Russian vodka from its store shelves, the company said Wednesday.
Details were not immediately available exactly when the supermarket giant would strip its liquor stores from Russian brands, but the announcement came nearly a week into the invasion of Russian forces into democratic Ukraine.
“Publix stands with the people of Ukraine,” Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Wednesday. “To show our support, we have decided to remove Russian-made vodka brands from our shelves.”
According to its website, Publix opened its first liquor store in 2003, and now has more than 300 locations across its chain. Besides Florida, the market has stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Publix isn’t the only retailer offering support: Total Wine & More stores removed all the Russian-made products from store shelves, posting on Facebook that it was to show support for the Ukrainian people.
The post included a picture of an empty shelf with a sign stating that it is “no longer selling any Russian-made product.”
Total Wine & More has 229 stores across 27 states and, according to its website, is the country’s largest independent retailer of fine wine.
The governors of several states have ordered government-run liquor stores to stop selling Russian-made vodka.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox over the weekend instructed the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to take off all Russian-produced and branded products from the shelves of its retail stores. The governors of New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania have also taken action as well.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott urged all liquor stores and restaurants in the state to stop serving Russian-made products on a voluntary basis.
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Reuters reported the move is mostly symbolic since only 1.2% of U.S. vodka imports came from Russia in the first half of 2021, citing the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, which tracks such data.
The group’s data shows that Russian vodka accounted for only $18.5 million of the $1.4 billion worth of total vodka imports in the United States in 2021, which included $660 million from France, according to Reuters.
There will not be action coming from the governor’s mansion in Florida, however.
When asked this week if there was any consideration by Gov. Ron DeSantis to ask retailers to pull Russian vodka from the shelves, his press secretary said no.
“All products that are currently on store shelves were already imported and purchased, so throwing them out at this point would be a loss for Florida retailers, not for Vladimir Putin,” said spokeswoman Christina Pushaw.
Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at email@example.com or 954-572-2008 or Twitter @LisaHuriash