Dan Savage wants you to say nyet to Russian Standard—and all Russian vodka, for that matter.
Following BuzzFeed’s “36 Photos From Russia That Everyone Needs to See,” which depicted the inhumane brutality suffered by supporters at Russian gay pride events, the editorial director of Seattle’s alt-weekly The Stranger called for LGBT people and their allies to “dump Russian vodka” in protest of the country’s anti-LGBT laws.
Then Savage took it one step further, asking gay bars to pull Russian vodka from their shelves. So far, two Las Vegas gay bars have followed suit: Downtown’s Drink & Drag and Krave Massive.
“We just thought it was the right thing to do,” says Kelly Murphy, owner of those two Neonopolis bars. He added that Drink & Drag even replaced its Stoli-branded bowling pins lining the alleys. “We just decided there were other brands we could support.”
PJ Brazier, owner of the Fruit Loop’s FreeZone watering hole, disagrees, saying he’d be “hard-pressed” to pull the product due to the uncertainty of Stoli’s LGBT views. “The only reason we’re not pulling right now is because we don’t know Stoli’s stance on the issue.”
The Weekly called around to several other gay bars in town, and it seems no one else has jumped on the bandwagon—yet. Just like Brazier, many were quick to add that the decision could change. Fun Hog Ranch assistant manager Sal Rico says the bar still doesn’t serve Coors Light due to an LGBT dispute from decades ago.
So, next time you’re out on the town and in the mood for a cosmo or screwdriver, remember that your choice of vodka has the potential to make a statement.
Note: If you own or represent a gay bar and decide to pull Russian vodka from your shelves, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.