Cox orders all Russian products pulled from Utah liquor store shelves

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is ordering all Russian vodka to be pulled off of Utah's state-run liquor store shelves effectively immediately.

The governor issued the executive order Saturday taking down the Russian liquor products in response to the invasion of Russian military forces into Ukraine.

"Russia's ruthless attack on a sovereign nation is an egregious violation of human rights," Cox said in a statement. "Utah stands in solidarity with Ukraine and will not support Russian enterprises, no matter how small the exchange."

Under the executive order, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control must remove all Russian-produced and Russian-branded products from its shelves.

Russian liquor products will not be sold until the governor issues an order to rescind Saturday's action.

The executive order also requires the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity to review other procurements by the state and Utah's other economic relationships with Russia, he said.

Other governors have taken similar actions.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine directed the state's Commerce Department to cease the purchase and sale of Russian Standard, the only Russian vodka sold in Ohio. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed an executive order requiring state liquor outlets to remove Russian-made and branded alcohol.

In Canada, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario on Friday announced that "all products produced in Russia will be removed" from its channels, including 679 of its stores across the province. It also promised to accept the return of any Russian products and declared that it "stands with Ukraine, its people, and the Ukrainian Canadian community here in Ontario."

Some bars and liquor stores across the nation are also pulling Russian vodka off their shelves and promoting Ukrainian brands instead as a potent way to punish Russia for invading Ukraine.

"I woke up yesterday morning, and I saw that Russia had invaded Ukraine. You wonder what you can do," said Bob Quay, owner of Bob's Bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "The U.S. obviously is putting on sanctions. I thought I would put on sanctions as well.''

So he rid his shelves of the old Soviet brand Stolichnaya and started promoting Ukraine's Vektor. "We have a sign above it that says: Support Ukraine."

Quay said he may never sell Russian products again. And he's taken another step: "I've ordered a Ukrainian flag, and that will be going up next week."

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Quay announced the move on Facebook, and "it blew up. We've got people coming in who've never been in the bar before."

Stoli, owned by the Russian-born tycoon Yuri Shefler, is actually made in Latvia. On its website, Stoli Group says it "stands for peace in Europe and in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.″

The Southern Spirits liquor store in Indian Land, South Carolina, is doing a booming business in the Ukrainian vodka Kozak after pulling Russian brands off its shelves.

"It's selling out a lot faster than we thought," said general manager Drew Podrebarac. "It's been awesome.''

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