A Wichita liquor store is taking a stand after Russia attacked Ukraine this week. Jacob Liquor Exchange, 29th and Rock Road, has pulled more than 100 bottles of Russian vodka from its shelves.
It has poured some of the vodka on the ground. The rest of the vodka has been removed from the store shelves.
“I think the whole world knows by now that Russia’s at war with Ukraine for no apparent reason,” Jamie Stratton, Jacob Liquor Exchange partner and wine director, said. “I guess this is our sanction. We don’t support it. There’s no reason to support it. There’s no reason for them to invade the Ukrainians, and this may be small, but every small thing makes a difference.”
The store put the vodka in a backroom.
“If a customer requests these items, obviously we’re here to sell. That’s what we do,” Stratton said. “But I’m not going to put it on the shelves. There’s no reason for it to be here. We’re not supporting them.”
The store is replacing the Russian vodka with an expanded section of Ukrainian vodka. Stratton picked up one of the Ukrainian bottles.
“This vodka, in particular, I would urge people. This is Khor vodka from the Ukraine. If you want to buy some vodka, don’t buy Russian. Buy Ukrainian,” he said.
Stratton had initially removed Stoli vodka as well, but the Stoli Group reached out to him to explain why its vodka should still be supported.
“With regard to us being Russian. We are absolutely NOT a Russian company,” Damian McKinney, Stoli Group global CEO, said in a letter to Stratton. “We are a global organization with a significant portfolio of spirits and wine brands from around the world, with Stoli’s European Global HQ based in Luxembourg. Stoli Premium and Elit are manufactured and bottled in Riga, Latvia.”
Stratton said he is working with the company to get signage that explains that Stoli is not a Russian vodka.
He said Russia’s attack is hurting more than just Ukraine. He said it will cause the world a lot of problems.
“We’ve already got issues with gas prices. Gas is going to go up. We’ve already got issues with, you know, problems with shipping. There’s going to be shipping snarls and transportation snarls that are caused because of this. And inflation. There’s no doubt that this is going to cause inflation to get worse.”
He said the vodka might be returned to the store shelves if Russia quickly ends its war against Ukraine.
“This is going to go in our backroom and until further notice. I hope this resolves itself quickly, but until then, they don’t deserve our shelves.”
Each Jacob Liquor store is independently owned. Stratton could only speak for the one at 29th and Rock Road.
After speaking with Stratton, KSN contacted other liquor stores. The owner of Groves Wine and Liquor, Kellogg and Webb, said they plan to pull their displays of Russian vodka, too.