Destiny Johnson (KGW), Alma McCarty (KGW)
PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — The Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission (OLCC) directed Oregon’s independently owned liquor stores to stop selling all Russian manufactured distilled spirits in response to Russia’s unprompted invasion of Ukraine.
The remaining supply of Russian spirits has been sent to sit in the OLCC’s Portland warehouse.
OLCC said, in part, in an emailed statement:
The OLCC is taking this action as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Removing these products aligns with other states that have acted to ban the sale of Russian-made products as a part of economic sanctions against Russian-operated businesses. Economic sanctions against the Russian government are designed to bring this conflict to an end.
As Oregon Governor Kate Brown has reflected, “The actions of the Russian Government are not the actions of the Russian people. We value our Russian community here in Oregon, and many Russian families are being impacted by this conflict.”
There are approximately 5,000 bottles of Russian-made liquor across 281 stores in the state. More than 6,200 bottles are in the warehouse distribution center but the OLCC has stopped fulfilling orders for those products and local stores and taking their stock off the shelves.
Liquor stores in Oregon will still carry some liquors that have Russian names but not liquor purchased from distilleries located in Russia. There is a number of liquors that use Russian names and branding that are not distilled or made in Russia. No special orders for Russian-made liquor will be fulfilled for customers.
The spirits being pulled include:
- Beluga Gold Line Vodka
- Beluga Noble Celebration
- Beluga Noble Vodka
- Forty Degrees Russian
- Green Mark Vodka
- Hammer + Sickle Vodka
- Imperia Vodka
- Imperial Vodka
- Jewel of Russia Classic
- Jewel of Russia Ultra
- Jewel of Russia Ultra Black
- Kutskova Russian Vodka
- Mamont Vodka
- Russian Ice Vodka
- Russian Standard 12-50ML
- Russian Standard Gold Vodka
- Russian Standard Platinum
- Russian Standard Vodka
- Russian Standard W/2 Shot
- St. Petersburg Russian Vodka
- Zyr Russian Vodka
Oregon is not the first state to pull Russian-made spirits from the shelves. NBC reported that several states including Utah, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania have made similar moves in the name of dissenting against the decision to invade Ukraine unprompted.
Liquor is not the only way Oregon is tied to Russia.
The Oregon State Treasury holds roughly $122 million in Russian assets including bonds, public equity and currency. It is not clear at this point whether Oregon will divest partially or fully.
“We support the people of Ukraine. I’ve asked my team to fully evaluate the portfolio’s exposure to investments in Russia and to identify our options as institutional investors,” said state Treasurer Tobias Read in a statement to KGW.
On Monday, KGW spoke with the owner of Westmoreland Liquor Store in Southeast Portland, Kim Fox. She explained that she didn’t carry more than a couple Russian-made brands to begin with, but had planned to pull them from the shelves before the OLCC’s directive.
“I think that Portland people are united with Ukraine,” she said, “It’s just a good thing to know which vodkas are Russian and which ones aren’t. Just because their name sounds Russian, like Stoli or Smirnoff – which used to be made in Russia – they are no longer, so it makes no sense to dump those out because they’re not doing anything to help the cause.
KGW’s lead investigative reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report.
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