DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Bars, restaurants and liquor stores across the country are taking Russian vodka off their shelves — including a suburban restaurant and a distributor.
In a show of support for Ukraine, Grand Duke’s, a Lithuanian restaurant in Downers Grove, is repurposing the Russian vodka for something else.
Beluga Vodka, a higher-end vodka, is now being used as a sanitizer. Russian Standard Vodka and Baltika Russian Beer are off the menu as well.
“We decided to pull it out just to show solidarity to Ukraine and our fellow customers and friends,” owner Andrius Bucas said.
Bucas said it was an easy decision to pull the products as a way to show their support. He remembers when his own country, Lithuania, was also attacked.
“We were the first ones who declared independence in 1990 and we were the first country who left the Soviet Union. So we know how hard it was,” Bucas said. “We were also attacked, we had people killed so we know what Ukraine is going through.”
While Bucas runs his business, many of his family members back in Lithuania are wondering what the war could mean for them.
“We have a lot of family still back in Lithuania, cousins, uncles, my wife’s parents are back home and we call them, they are worried,” he said. “They are crying there everyday, they are very close to what’s going on. Back home, it’s kind of scary.”
For the next month, the restaurant will have Ukrainian beer on special and half of the proceeds from the sales will be sent to Ukraine.
A local distributor, Intertrade, decided to make a similar move. They informed several of their clients, which includes major retailers and local restaurants, that they will no longer be selling Russian beers, wines and spirits.