Russian vodka boycotts in US have little impact on war, says expert

An industry expert believes that boycotts on Russian vodka across the US will have little impact on the war due to the divide between ‘control states’ and those under the three tier system.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week several measures have been taken by the global drinks trade to show support for Ukraine and damn the actions of Vladimir Putin.

One of the biggest headlines so far has been the introduction of boycotts on Russian products by both the on-and-off trade across different states in the US.

The governor of New Hampshire Chris Sununu announced via social media last week that he had signed an order requiring state outlets to remove Russian-made spirits until further notice.

However according to Robert Mellion, executive director and general counsel of the Massachusetts Package Store Association, it will have little impact on events in Europe.

“The fact is that very little of the beer, wine and spirits consumed in Massachusetts or within the US originates from Russia,” Mellion told MassLive. “When was the last time you bought wine or whisky from Russia? How many Russian beers can the average person name?”

The other obstacle for the US is that around half of the states operate under the three tier system, which means that the distribution and retail of beverages is privately run and therefore it is the control states which have a greater impact.

Mellion added: “Therefore, it is a political decision impacting state-run stores. No independent family business is taking a hit by implementing a boycott.”