Liquor stores are removing Russian-made vodka from shelves, pushing the sale of national and local vodkas instead

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — Some beer and liquor stores are choosing to remove Russian-made products from shelves, such as some vodkas. Store managers say this is just a way to show their solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“We have to show solidarity, you know. Definitely, Ukrainians have nothing to do with this,” said Khalil Thabata, director of Broadway Liquor.

Thabata said he pulls Russian vodkas off the shelves, wraps them up and sends them back to their vendor.

“That’s probably 10 cases, almost a few thousand dollars that we can fill with other American-made vodkas and spirits,” he said.

He is not worried about the loss. For Thabata, his business will focus more on selling national and local products.

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Gerald Christian, owner of the NOLA distillery, said buying local supports local and believes that vodka made in the United States is better than vodka made in Russia.

“Here at Nola Distillery, we’re all Americans,” Christian said. “Well, number one, I feel like we have a better quality than Russia. I really believe in state, city and our nation first. And I’m a very big believer in not only have products made in the United States in the United States.”

Now he is thinking with his team at the NOLA distillery about ways to help. Their idea is to add a special bottle of vodka to the shelves where the profits help the Ukrainian people.

“I will personalize the label with a tribute to the state of the country of Ukraine,” he said. “Put in one of our finest vodkas and return it to the sources of mankind.”

It may seem small, but for them, it’s their way of helping.

“Certainly you know how to fill some American stuff,” Thabata said. “Titos, Amsterdam, you know all the vodkas made in the USA stock our shelves.”

Some large-scale liquor wholesalers like Total Wines are also removing all Russian vodkas from the shelf. Smaller companies like locally owned Martin Wine Cellar say customers have been asking for non-Russian products.

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