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US vodka distillers fear pushback against Russia could trickle down to them

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Posted at 8:00 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 11:36:39-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Officials in the alcohol industry are concerned that boycotts of Russian-made vodkas could impact the sales of spirits produced in other countries — including those made in the U.S.

The pushback against Russian vodkas is already underway. According to NBC News, the governors of New Hampshire, Ohio and Utah have signed orders banning the sale of Russian-made vodkas from state-controlled liquor stores.

But that pushback appears to be extending beyond Russian-made vodkas. Corner Liquors in Lexington, Kentucky says they've seen the confusion first hand.

"We have customers that come through that, you know, want to know if we still have vodka on the shelf," said Sheqeuelle, with Corner Liquors.

While many consumers assume that most vodkas sold in U.S. stores are made in Russia, a national spirits council says vodkas made in Russia only make up about 1% of the U.S. market.

In fact, micro-distilleries across the country are making their own vodkas. Barrel House Distilling Company in Lexington is one of eight distilleries in the state making vodka.

"When you walk into a liquor store and you're looking to buy some vodka, maybe do a little research and ask the person working there," said Andrew Tyma, the distiller at Barrel House Distilling. "There's plenty of vodka that's made maybe right in your backyard and you didn't even know it."

This story was originally published by Ricky Sayer on Scripps station WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky.