Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
In addition to comprehensive national-level economic sanctions against Russia, businesses, state and provincial governments and alcohol retail monopolies across Western countries have decided to remove Russian alcohol products from their shelves in protest aganst Putin’s war and in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Businesses in Australia, the United States and Canada, as well as the government-run alcohol retail monopolies in Finland and Sweden, are all stopping to sell Russian alcohol products in a symbolic gesture of support for Ukraine and in protest against Putin’s war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Boycott of Russian vodka in North America

The U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Utah, Ohio, New Hampshire and the province of Ontario, Canada have directed their respective alcohol beverage authorities to remove Russian alcohol products from all shelves.

The New York Governor has also ordered all state agencies to stop doing business with Russian entities. Many businesses have already halted.

Apart from comprehensive economic sanctions being placed at national levels against Putin’s Russia, a growing number of citizens is boycotting Russian businesses, organizations, and individuals over Putin’s war on Ukraine. This includes the boycott of Russian vodka.

This move shows important solidarity with Ukraine, even so the boycott of Russian vodka is largely symbolic. In the U.S. only about 1% of vodka consumed is made in Russia, according to IWSR statistics. The only Russian brands in stores are Russian Standard and Green Mark vodkas. However, as Mark Schrad, an associate professor of political science at Villanova University, says even in these brands the U.S. only makes a minuscule of their global sales.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, pressed American businesses to take action against Russia and for the U.S. and its allies to level more sanctions.

Nordic alcohol retail monopolies stop selling Russian products

Sweden’s government-run alcohol retail monopoly, Systembolaget, has decided to stop selling all types of Russian alcohol, including vodka, in protest over Putin’s assault on Ukraine, according to The Local.

The decision from Systembolaget came only hours after Alko, its Finnish equivalent, had announced a similar move. 

Put simply, this is because of Russia’s invasion and that the attack will mean great suffering for the Ukrainian people,” said Ulf Sjödin, Systembolaget’s Head of Category Management, as per The Local.

I wouldn’t say it was a protest, more just a natural consequence.” 

Ulf Sjödin, Head of Category Management, Systembolaget

In a press statement, Systembolaget said that it agreed with Sweden’s government that the attack “violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty” and was “a clear crime under international law”. 

Australian alcohol retail giant removes Russian alcohol products

Endeavour Group, owner of liquor supermarkets BWS and Dan Murphy’s, will remove products of Russian origin from its shelves and online stores in response to a plea from Australia’s ethnic Ukrainian community, reports Aleks Vickovich of Financial Review.

The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) called for a national ban on the import and distribution of Russian goods, most prominently vodka, in protest over Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Endeavour Group has now heeded the call, vowing to halt sales of Russian imports via its high street subsidiaries such as BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Jimmy Brings, Cellarmasters, Shorty’s Liquor and ALH Hotels.

Endeavour Group is deeply concerned with the situation in Ukraine and we join the calls for peace,” said a spokesman for the company, as per Financial Review.

Following feedback from a variety of stakeholders, we have decided to remove products of Russian origin from our stores, hotels and online businesses in the coming days.”

Endeavour Group spokesperson

While vodka may be the most culturally prominent Russian import, fertilisers, crude petroleum and wood manufacturing products are bigger contributors to trade between Australia and Russia.


Axios: “Russian vodka being removed from shelves in U.S. and Canada

NPR: “Boycotts of Russian products and groups spread, but the effects may be limited

CNN Business: “States want to boycott Russian vodka. Here’s why that won’t work

The Local Sweden: “Swedish alcohol monopoly pulls Russian products from shelves

Financial Review: “BWS, Dan Murphy’s to dump Russian vodka