Gay bars dump Russian Vodka across U.S., Canada — but not yet in Dallas

Posted on 26 Jul 2013 at 12:17pm

dumprussianvodkalogoLGBT advocates are calling for a boycott of Russian goods in light of the recent anti-gay laws the country’s leadership has championed.

Recent violence highlighted by BuzzFeed and the arrests under the gay propaganda ban have also spurred activists to push for a boycott of the Winter Games scheduled to take place in Russia in 2014.

But instead of boycotting the games, others called for a boycott on products, mainly Stolichnaya Vodka.

Dan Savage wrote an article urging gay bars to stop serving the alcohol. Several Chicago gay bars have already said they won’t serve it anymore, along with bars in San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto.

Howard Okon, owner of The Brick and Joes’s, said he’s heard about the boycott but isn’t ready to make a decision about the bar carrying it.

“We will be looking into it today and remove it if that’s what people are doing across the nation,” he said.

Okon said Razzle Dazzle Dallas, the city’s June LGBT Pride Month celebration, was hit hard earlier this year when Stoli representatives said they wouldn’t sponsor the event, after they’ve been the major liquor sponsor the past two years. Okon, who was in charge of sponsorships for Razzle Dazzle, said the company told him they were realigning their outreach and pulling out of the gay market.

Several people have posted about the boycott on Station 4’s Facebook group, calling for the popular club to dump Stoli. Representatives from Caven Enterprises haven’t responded to the posts or returned calls seeking comment.

The company that owns Stolichnaya Vodka, SPI Group, sent out a statement Thursday saying they aren’t connected to the Russian government and “firmly opposes such attitude and actions” committed by the Russian government and continues to be a “fervent supporter and friend” of the community.”

The Luxembourg-based company said it’s not affiliated with the Russian government. They also clarified that the vodka’s production is divided between Russia and Latvia.

“We fully support and endorse your objectives to fight against prejudice in Russia,” the statement reads in part. “In the past decade, SPI has been actively advocating in favor of freedom, tolerance and openness in society, standing very passionately on the side of the LGBT community and will continue to support any effective initiative in that direction.”

Activists say that’s not enough to call off the boycott until the company tries do something to help LGBT people in Russia.

Okon said he wouldn’t boycott the company because it’s Russian, and would have to find that they support the anti-gay efforts in order to pull the vodka from his bar’s shelves.

Other Russian vodkas sold in the U.S. include Dovgan, Gold Symphony, Standart, Hrenovuha, Kauffman , Kubanskaya, Moskovskaya, Narodnaya, Pyatizvyozdnaya, Putinka, Rodnik, Ruskova, Russian Standard, Shustov, Starka, Stolnaya and Youri Dolgoruki.

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