Liquor store owners in Vicksburg take Russian vodka off shelf: ‘It’s us taking a stand’

Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 7:06 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippians are responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and some are hoping that will translate to some form of sanctions by the state.

Owners of Toney’s 61 North Liquor and Wine in Vicksburg couldn’t get the images from Ukraine out of their minds.

“My husband called me and he said, ‘How many Russian vodkas do we have on the shelf?’” explained Christin Toney. “So, I looked it up. And we just have the one, the Russian Standard. That’s the only vodka we have that is actually produced in Russia. So he said, ‘Rip it off the shelf.’”

So, that’s what they did, leaving a sign in its place that reads, “We don’t support Russia!!!”

“It’s us taking a stand and, you know, maybe somebody else will see it and they’ll take a stand, too,” noted Toney. “It’s our business. So, we just decided we’re not going to carry Russian product. If someone wants to buy the Russian Standard vodka, I’ll take all the money from the sales and I’ll double it and donate it to Ukraine charity.”

We reached out to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis for details on the breakdown of how much vodka consumed in America is actually produced in Russia.

According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis data, only about 14% of global vodka volume is produced in Russia (and about 13% of that is sold in Russia.)

In the US, less than 1% of vodka consumed in the country is produced in Russia. More than 50% of vodka consumed in America is produced in the US. In fact, many of the top-selling vodka brands that may trace their origin to Russia are now actually distilled in other/multiple countries.

On a larger scale, Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann wants the state to take action.

“As you’re watching this, there are people dying, children dying because of the Russians and we should not support them with one penny of Mississippi money,” explained Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. “So, you’ll see a resolution coming out of Rules, hopefully tomorrow, our committee on the Senate side, saying that we should sever all economic ties with Russia, which would include the alcohol and beverage commission that we have out here to.

“Mississippi PERS, investing in a Russian company at all that is owned by Russians, those kinds of things will be coming out, I think, in a resolution tomorrow.”

Rep. Tom Miles is among those lawmakers sharing his support for such efforts.

“We’ve just had people that were concerned that have reached out to us as state legislators,” said Miles. “It’s on the hearts and minds of everyone about this. And every little thing that we can do and encourage people to buy Mississippi-made products first, of course, and American-made products second is what we needed to do in our state as a whole and to show our support solidarity to our friends in Ukraine.”

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