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'We stand behind them': Local liquor stores stop selling Russian-made vodka

Some brands may sound Russian, but aren't made in Russia
Russian vodka empty shelf
Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 14:52:05-04

HAZEL PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Across the globe, people are finding ways to support Ukrainians through rallies, protests and even boycotting Russian-made products.

Some liquor store owners in metro Detroit say removing Russian vodka off their shelves may not end the war, but it's their way of supporting and standing with Ukraine.

“I’m not buying any more of it,” Tony Garmo, who owns Park Liquor in Hazel Park, said.

Garmo is joining many liquor stores and bars across the country by not buying Russian vodka for his guests.

“One called Russia Standard and another one called Hammer and Sickle,” Garmo added.

If you walk into his Hazel Park store looking for some, this is the explanation you will get: “I’m sorry, we aren’t selling it any more to show support for the Ukrainian people.”

He isn’t the only liquor store in the area saying goodbye to Russian vodka.

Marcus Market in Detroit also has some empty spaces on its shelves.

“We want to support the Ukrainian community and we want to let them know that we stand behind them,” Adrian Matty said.

Over 500,000 people in Ukraine have already left the country that’s under attack by Russian troops.

This caused President Joe Biden to place even stronger sanctions on Russia that is impacting their economy.

Garmo says boycotting Russian vodka is his way of throwing sanctions on Russia as well.

“We are not purchasing anymore Russian vodka. In the long run, it’s going to hurt them more than help them,” he said.

Matty says removing the vodka off the shelves isn’t a loss.

“It’s not going to hurt our business for sure. I’ll tell you that,” he said.

At both stores, customers who stopped by are supporting this stance.

Ivan Nikolov came to the United States from Russia when he was 11 years old.

“My mom just took me across the border of Mexico and illegally into the United States,” he said.

He believes the current war taking place in Eastern Europe is unnecessary.

“I love Ukrainian people. I love all people. I think it's a waste of time, resources and energy,” he said.

It’s important to note that if you want to join this boycott, most vodkas you see at liquor stores aren’t made in Russia, even though some may have Russian sounding names or branding.

Many of the vodkas are produced right here in the United States and different parts of Europe.