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Massachusetts Lawmakers Mull Ban On Russian Products, Some Stores Pull Vodka Off Shelves

BOSTON (CBS) - The alcohol industry is grappling with calls for boycotting Russian vodka. "There are so many other choices right now with vodka," said Ercole Urbaldino, who owns Route 9 Wine and Spirits.

He said sales of Russian vodka have been so low, he stopped stocking it even before Russia invaded Ukraine. He supports New Hampshire pulling Russian brands off the shelves at state liquor stores.

Total Wine & More, which is based in Maryland, made the same move in its Massachusetts stores. "We are no longer selling any Russian-made product," said a sign in the vodka section in Natick.

Related: How To Help The People Of Ukraine

The Massachusetts Package Stores Association says boycotting Russian made alcohol could be symbolic, but wouldn't have any real impact, because Massachusetts does not consume a lot of Russian vodka.

At the State House, there are efforts to make a statement. "It shows the world that the people of Massachusetts don't support, invest, or tolerate the invasion of Ukraine. by Russia," said Massachusetts State Representative Patrick Kearney, who proposed a bill to address the issue. "The bill would prevent any sale or consumption of any Russian product here in Massachusetts," he said.

Massachusetts legislative leaders say they're checking into whether Massachusetts has any contracts involving Russia. Governor Charlie Baker has concerns about a flat-out ban. "I share the concern about shutting down some Russian immigrant family who's been here in Massachusetts for years and runs a business that may have some sort of Russian overtone," he said.

The Massachusetts Package Stores Association shared this list of Russian alcohol for people interested in boycotting. A spokesperson said Stoli is from Latvia, not Russia.

Russian Standard Vodka
Beluga Noble Russian Vodka
Russian Standard Platinum Vodka
Baikal Vodka
Baltika (Beer)
Nevskoe Imperial (Beer)
Ochakovo (Beer)
Starka (whisky)
Samogon (Russian Moonshine)
Polugar (Russian Gin)
Kuban-Vino (Wine)
Abrau-Durso (Sparkling Wine)

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