Publix removes Russian-made vodka from shelves in support of Ukraine

Publix has become the latest retailer to remove Russian-made vodka from its liquor store shelves in a show of support for Ukraine.

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The Florida-based supermarket chain announced the decision Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported. Publix has stores in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the chain’s website.

Publix opened its first liquor store in 2003, according to its website. It now has more than 300 locations, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

“Publix stands with the people of Ukraine,” Maria Brous, a spokesperson for the grocery chain, said in a statement. “To show our support, we have decided to remove Russian-made vodka brands from our shelves,” Brous said.

Publix joins Total Wine & More and Kroger as retailers who have removed the Russian-made vodka off its shelves. Last weekend, Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath, who is a co-partner in a South Florida restaurant, removed Russian-made vodka from the menus of Charlie & Joe’s, WPTV-TV reported.

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Vodka brands removed from Publix include Beluga, Ruskova, Russian Standard and Zyr, according to WTSP-TV. Publix will continue to sell Stolichnaya (Stoli), Romanov and Smirnoff because while they sound like Russian brands, they are not made in Russia, WFOR-TV reported.

Stoli’s brand is registered in Latvia, the television station reported. Smirnoff, which is owned by a British company, is actually made in the U.S. and other parts of the world, and Romanov is made in India, according to WFOR.

According to USA Today, information from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States shows only 1.2% of U.S. vodka imports came from Russia during the first half of 2021.

>> Kroger pulls Russian-produced vodka off shelves

Despite the move, Russian vodka will be advertised in Thursday’s advertising circular for Publix, the Herald reported. Supermarket officials said the ad was printed several weeks ago. The sale has been discontinued and was removed from the chain’s online circular, the newspaper reported.

“Our sale circulars are printed weeks in advance, and due to that timeline, we were unable to pull this product from the printed version of the circular,” Brous said.