DES MOINES, Iowa — Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to remove all Russian-produced alcoholic liquor produces from its wholesale purchase list in support of Ukraine "as they defend their freedom against Putin's tyranny."
This comes days after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine. On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made moves to solidify its relationship with the West by signing an application to join the European Union.
Additionally, Reynolds also encouraged Iowa's Sister States across the world to end ties with its Russian sister state, Stavropol Krai, and instead build a relationship with its Ukrainian sister state, Cherkasy Oblast.
Iowa is one of 17 states to control liquor at the wholesale level, meaning that the agency chooses what liquor products can be sold by in-state retailers. The agency buys the products in bulk and sells them to off-premises retailers, who then sell to customers, restaurants, and other retailers.
Officials say that on or before March 1, a list of all delisted products will be posted to the Iowa ABD website.
The order doesn't target products currently on store shelves; rather, it means that the state will not be making a supply of Russian imports available for distribution.
According to the ABD's 2021 sales report, imported vodka was the 9th highest-selling type of alcohol in the state, with $14,992,856 worth of product sold. The document does not say exactly how much this figure consists of Russian products specifically.
Even Smirnoff, which bears a Russian name, is one of the most recognizable vodka brands in the world, and traces its heritage to 19th Century Russia, is owned by British spirits company Diageo, and manufactured in Illinois.
At the national level, Russian-made products only make up about 1% of vodka imported to the U.S, according to Forbes. In 2021, total vodka imports from Russia were valued at $18 million, making them the 6th largest importer, falling significantly behind France's $660 million, the Netherlands' $290 million, Sweden's $176 million, Latvia's $137 million, and Poland's $63 million.