National Gay News

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By Brittany Doohan


Many bars in the Castro District are boycotting Russian vodkas in protest against recent actions by the Russian government against the LGBT communities. This boycott of the Russian-made products (and the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games) is hoped to make the Russian government rethink their persecution of gays and lesbians.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning public displays of homosexuality, and imposes fines on anyone who distributes LGBTQ materials to children or holds gay pride rallies.

In response to this, Hi Tops and Moby Dick have taken Stoli, a popular brand of Russian vodka, from the shelves.

According to KTVU news, customers at Moby Dick bar started to boycott the vodka before the bar decided not to carry it. "Just here at the bar, [the customer] ordered a drink and they said, 'not taking Stoli,'" said Moby Dick bartender Mauro Brito according to KTVU news. In response, the owners decided to pull Stoli from the bar a day later.

Hi Tops then posted on their Facebook page: “Sorry Stoli, but we wont be carrying you at Hi Tops anymore. We’re following the advice of Dan Savage and saying goodbye to all our Russian booze, which is our line of Stoli vodkas, to protest the recent horrible legislation and persecution of GLBT people in Russia. We have plenty of other vodkas made elsewhere to quench your thirst.”

The boycott is heavily controversial, and many people who are opposed to it point out that even though the vodka is made with Russian ingredients, Stoli has many partnerships within the LGBT community.

Although many feel the impact is small and may not affect the Russian economy the way it is hoped to, it still has helped gain mass attention to the issue.

How do you feel about the boycott against Russian booze?