The West Auckland Trusts – one of New Zealand’s largest alcohol retail chains – has announced it will strip thousands of bottles of Russian vodka and beer from shelves in response to Russia’s escalating aggression towards Ukraine.

The Trusts, which owns 26 retail stores as well as hospitality venues throughout the West Auckland region, will stop selling thousands of Russian made products from today, March 1, 2022.

Allan Pollard

Allan Pollard, Trusts CEO, says the move is a response to Russia raising its nuclear alert level along with a growing groundswell of consumer sentiment.

The ban includes brands with Russia as their country of origin, such as: Ivanov, Russian Standard, Russkaya, Kristov Red vodkas, Gorkovskaya Vodka, JJ Whitley Rhubarb Vodka, Royal Bison Vodka, Russkaya Vodka, Baltika Beer and Three Hills Pale Ale beer.

The products will not be replaced with other brands and the empty shelf space will instead display a Ukrainian flag.

Pollard says the immediate removal of Russian vodka and beer from sale is in line with similar actions taken by businesses in a number of other countries around the world, including Canada, US and Australia.

He says the company sells thousands of bottles of Russian made liquor annually, however they are prepared to bear the cost associated with their self-imposed boycott of products from this nation to support those impacted by the events in Ukraine.

“Vodka is Russia’s most high profile export product and our actions today are designed to show our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty,” says Pollard.

“While New Zealand is a comparatively small market individually, joining our counterparts in other countries around the world in boycotting the sale of these products is a statement of solidarity for the Ukrainian people.”

Pollard says the product will be removed from sale from all Trusts stores in West Auckland and placed in storage, or discarded if there is no imminent resolution.

Pollard says there are other locally made and imported alternatives available for their customers.

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