CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Businesses across the country are showing support for Ukraine by what they choose to put on store shelves.
If you come to Rumbleseat Bar and Grille, you will no longer see any Russian liquor. The owner told 22News he hopes it raises awareness about what’s going on overseas. “Putin officially banned,” that is the sign you’ll see right outside of Rumbleseat in Chicopee.
“We notified our distributors that we are not going to carry Russian products. For me, it’s about awareness and the more people worldwide that we can make aware of what’s going on in Ukraine. The better off we will be,” said Bill Stetson, owner of Rumbleseat Bar and Grille.
Stetson joins the countless number of bars and restaurant owners across the nation taking Russian liquor off the shelves to show solidarity with Ukraine during the Russian invasion.
In New Hampshire, the governor ordered all state-run liquor and wine outlets to remove all Russian-made and Russian-branded spirits until further notice. Here in Massachusetts, Representative Patrick Kearney filed legislation to prohibit the purchase or consumption of any product made in Russia.
Governor Baker said earlier this week that they don’t want to take this kind of action in fear of hurting small businesses. 22News also reached out to the Massachusetts Package stores association, they also raise concerns that this will do more harm than good.
In a statement Robert Mellion of the Massachusetts Package Stores Association says in part, “the problem is that while many brands have Russian names due to their founder often originating from Russia, not much vodka in the US is produced in Russia,” he goes on to say, “A ban or boycott of Smirnoff puts Americans out of work, even Stolichnaya is now produced in Latvia. Banning or boycotting Stolis actually helps the Russian government by hurting independent Latvia.”
Mellion adds that while this is a good way to make a political statement, one of the best ways people can support Ukrainians is by buying vodka made in Ukraine such as Kozak and Vektor.
For those seeking to boycott Russian-made spirits, it is recommended that they be mindful of what beer, wine, and spirits products are actually made in Russia.
Russian produced brands available in the United States for beer, wine, and spirits:
- Russian Standard – Vodka
- Beluga Noble Russian – Vodka
- Russian Standard Platinum – Vodka
- Baikal – Vodka
- Baltika – Beer
- Nevskoe Imperia – Beer
- Ochakovo – Beer
- Starka – Whiskey
- Samogon – Russian Moonshine
- Polugar – Russian Gin
- Abrau Durso – Sparkling Wine
22News also reached out to local alcohol distributors including Horizon Beverage on how this may be affecting them. So far 22News has not heard back from them.