Gov. Jim Justice halts sale of Russian-made vodka

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Monday ordered a state agency to stop until further notice the purchase and sale of liquor produced in Russia, which invaded Ukraine last week.

The governor also asked the West Virginia Retailers Association to remove Russian liquor from their shelves, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Justice also directed the commissioner of the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration to make Ukrainian-produced brands available for purchase by licensed retail liquor outlets, depending on their availability.

The governor’s announcement followed similar moves in other states.

Currently, West Virginia distributes four brands of Russian vodka. They are Russian Standard, Beluga Vodka, Moskovskaya, and Hammer & Sickle Russian Vodka. The ABCA estimates there are about 73 cases of Russian liquor in the state’s warehouse, the statement said.

Other brands of liquor that use Russian names for marketing purposes are bought from distilleries not located in Russia, the statement said.

The Alcohol Beverage Control Administration regulates the distribution of liquor to 181 retail outlets and oversees about 6,000 alcohol producers, distributors, representatives, retailers and other licensees.

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