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Publix removes Russian vodka from shelves to support Ukraine

Vodka brands removed from Publix liquor store shelves include Beluga, Ruskova, Russian Standard and Zyr
Florida- Publix has removed Russian-made vodka from its liquor store shelves in support of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country
Florida- Publix has removed Russian-made vodka from its liquor store shelves in support of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country [ CHRIS URSO/TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Mar. 2

Looking for Russian vodka? You won’t find it at Publix.

The Florida-based supermarket chain has removed Russian-made vodka from its liquor store shelves in support of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country.

Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous confirmed the decision to the Miami Herald on Wednesday, saying the vodka was no longer on its liquor store shelves. Publix has stores in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

But don’t be surprised if you see Russian vodka advertised in Thursday’s Publix circular. The supermarket says the ad was printed several weeks ago. However, the sale won’t be happening and was removed from the chain’s online circular.

Vodka brands removed from Publix liquor store shelves include Beluga, Ruskova, Russian Standard and Zyr, according to First Coast News. However, not every vodka with a Russian name is made in Russia. Stolichnaya (Stoli), Romanov and Smirnoff are not Russian-made vodkas, for example, and will continue to be sold, according to the news station.

Stoli says its vodka brands and its owner Yuri Shefler were exiled from Russia nearly two decades ago and that its brand is registered in Latvia, according to an online post the vodka company made showing its support for Ukraine. Similarly, the Smirnoff brand says that while it began in Russia, it was reestablished in Europe more than a century ago and has been made in the U.S. since 1934 (it’s made in other parts of the world too, but not Russia) and is owned by Diageo, a British company, according to its website.

Romanov vodka is made in India. Publix is the latest retailer to boycott Russia in support of Ukraine during the war. Total Wine & More, which has 34 stores in Florida, removed all Russian-made products from its shelves earlier this week to support Ukraine.

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

Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, parent company of Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más and Harveys Supermarket, also announced this weekend that it would be donating $250,000, in partnership with its SEG Gives Foundation, to the International Committee of the Red Cross to help with relief efforts in Ukraine.

Southeastern Grocers said it will also be donating 100% of the proceeds from its private label Ukrainian vodka for the next 31 days to relief efforts “as a nod to Ukraine’s official declaration of independence nearly 31 years ago.”

“At Southeastern Grocers, we are guided by doing the right thing; we recognize the people of Ukraine need our help, and they need it now,” Southeastern Grocers President and CEO Anthony Hucker said in a statement. “That’s why we are immediately directing funds to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support the victims of the war in Ukraine. This decision is a natural extension of our belief that there is a greater power in unity than there is in division; we believe that we are all stronger together.”

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