Total Wine joins boycott, pulls Russian vodka

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Restaurants and liquor stores all over the country are taking their own stand by joining a boycott against Russian-made vodka, and that now includes national chain Total Wine & More.

KOB 4 visited the Uptown location Tuesday to find out if customers are on board.

"I’m proud of them, I think it’s the right move to make,” said Greg Cheyne, Total Wine & More customer.

The national liquor store chain removed all Russian-made products, including vodkas, off its shelves Monday and replaced them with signs.

In a statement sent to KOB 4, the company said:

"Total Wine & More has ceased the purchase and sale of Russian-made products including vodka. We have removed all Russian-made products from our shelves until further notice. We are ceasing the purchase and sale of Russian-made products in order to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine."

"I don’t know if it’s going to be very significant, because whatever’s already over here has been paid for in one way or another,” said Fred Morton, Total Wine & More customer.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, only 1% of vodka imported to the U.S. actually comes from Russia. In fact, the vast majority comes France and the Netherlands, but customers say, this is really about sending a message.

"I think anything we can make Russia feel an impact on their decision is, is good,” said Cheyne.

"It’s great, whatever it takes to get the Russian people to change Putin’s outlook,” said Sue Hutton, customer at Total Wine & More.

Only one other liquor store in Albuquerque says it pulled Russian products off the shelves. Most didn’t even know about the boycott or if they sold Russian vodka. In fact, most customers KOB 4 talked to couldn’t even name a Russian brand.

Despite that, customers say they’re glad Americans are finding ways to take a stand against Russia.

"I just wish there was more we could do. I don’t think sending troops into battle is one of those decisions to make, but I think anything we can do to put economic stress on Russia, the better," Cheyne said.