Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Instructs Russian-Made Products Be Pulled From State Stores Immediately

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
February 28, 2022Updated: February 28, 2022

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) on Sunday instructed all Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores to remove Russian-made products from shelves in a sign of “solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine.”

PLCB—which regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in the state—said in a statement that the products would no longer be sold or procured by the board, effective immediately.

“Given the evolving political-economic climate, it’s just the right thing to do,” said board Chairman Tim Holden.

However, the board noted that while some producers offer many Russian-themed and marketed products that consumers may associate with the country, only two products stocked in stores—Russian Standard and Ustianochka 80-proof vodkas and around half-dozen Special Order brands—actually come from Russia.

PLCB noted that it will not be restricting the sale of Russian-branded products that are not sourced from Russia as doing so would unfairly and adversely impact those brands.

The order first came at the request of Gov. Tom Wolf on Feb. 27 who, in a letter to Holden, condemned Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.

“I urge you to remove Russian-sourced products from stores and cease selling them as quickly as possible as a small show of solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine, and an expression of our collective revulsion with the unprovoked actions of the Russian state,” Wolf wrote.

The move by PLCB comes as a handful of governors across the United States ordered government-run liquor stores to stop selling Russian-made products, including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and the governors of New Hampshire and Ohio.

However, it is unclear exactly what impact the move will have, given that just 1.3 percent of total U.S. vodka imports came from Russia in 2021, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 after President Vladimir Putin requested that the United States and its allies deny Ukraine and other former Soviet nations membership into NATO.

Kyiv-based news agency Interfax-Ukraine reported on Saturday that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky had requested a more definite timeline from NATO, as well as the EU, regarding the prospect of Ukraine’s membership.

“Eight years ago, Ukrainians made their choice, many gave their lives for it. Is it really possible that eight years after that, Ukraine should constantly call for recognition of the European prospect?” Zelensky said.

“Is it not the EU that should say today: our citizens have a positive attitude towards Ukraine’s entry into the union? Why do we avoid this question? Doesn’t Ukraine deserve direct, honest answers?” Zelensky said, adding that this applies to NATO too.

“We are told the door is open. But for now, no outsiders are allowed in,” the Ukrainian president added.

On Sunday, Putin announced in a televised meeting with top ministers that he was putting Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, claiming that “Western countries are not only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic area” but that “top officials of the leading NATO countries also make aggressive statements against our country as well.”

As a result, Putin said that he has ordered “the minister of defense and the chief of the general staff [of the Russian armed forces] to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty,” although it is not exactly clear what “special mode of combat duty” means.

Later on Sunday, Zelensky said he had held a phone call with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Putin, and agreed to send a delegation to the Ukraine–Belarus border to start peace talks “without preconditions.”