Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday ordered Iowa’s liquor division to remove Russian-produced liquor from its bulk purchase list.
Iowa is one of 17 states that controls the wholesale sale of alcoholic beverages, according to a press release from the governor’s office, which called the move “in solidarity with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom against the tyranny of (Vladimir) Putin”. .”
The Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division determines the brands of alcoholic products available to retailers, who then sell the products to consumers.
Of 30 imported vodkas sold in Iowa, only two are made in Russia, according to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. No Ukrainian vodka is offered for purchase by the alcoholic beverages division.
Many Hy-Vee stores across Iowa pulled vodkas with Russian-sounding names over the weekend, including stores in downtown Des Moines and Iowa City.
Stolichnaya is a popular vodka owned by Russian-born tycoon Yuri Shefler. The grain for Stoli is grown in Russia, but the vodka is distilled in Latvia. The vodka has become a popular target for people protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, according to USA TODAY.
Businesses in Western countries have been pushing for a boycott of Russian products since Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered the Ohio Department of Commerce to stop buying Russian Standard, the only Russian vodka sold in Ohio. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Utah Governor Spencer Cox have signed executive orders requiring their states’ liquor checkpoints to remove Russian-made and branded liquor from stores.
But the protests could have little effect. Only 1.2% of vodka imports into the United States came from Russia in the first half of 2021, according to USA TODAY.
The word “vodka” comes from the Russian word “voda”, which means water. But the most popular vodkas in the United States – including Smirnoff, Ciroc, Tito’s, Absolut, Svedka, Gray Goose, SKYY and New Amsterdam – are not made in Russia. They are made in Sweden, France, UK and USA
In 2019, Russia was only the 20th largest import supplier to the United States. Russian imports totaled just $22.3 billion in 2019, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. Mineral fuels accounted for $13 billion. Platinum and other precious metals accounted for $2.2 billion. Iron and steel accounted for $1.4 billion.
Reynolds also commissioned Iowa sister states to end its relationship with Stavrapol Krai, Russia, and provide recommendations to improve its relationship with Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine, according to the statement.