SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — A Massachusetts liquor store is encouraging customers to purchase Russian vodka, but not for the purpose of making their favorite mixed drinks.
Instead, Somerset Liquors wants everyone to take part in their new social media challenge, which requires customers to film themselves dumping that liquor out.
The full purchase price of the vodka, which is $16.99, will be donated to Ukraine, according to store owner Jason Ollerhead.
“The best way we could think of to get this off the shelves – because we don’t want to sell Russian vodka anymore – was to have people donate the cost of one of the bottles and we’re going to donate the full amount to Ukraine,” Ollerhead explained.
Ollerhead once all 10 cases of Russian vodka are sold, the liquor store will not be replenishing its stock. He estimates that once all the vodka is purchased, they’ll have raised more than $1,000.
Those who want to help Ukraine but don’t want to take part in the social media challenge can purchase the vodka and leave it at the liquor store, where employees will mark it as sold and dispose of it.
Ollerhead said most of his customers have opted to leave the bottles with them as opposed to dumping the liquor themselves.
“We’re writing ‘dump out’ right on the bottle when they leave it,” Ollerhead explained. “We put the receipt right on there and we’re going to have one day of dumping it all out.”
Ollerhead reassured customers that the vodka he’s trying to get rid of is actually made and sold by a Russian entrepreneur.
“It is not Stoli,” he said. “It’s not some of the others that people have been dumping out and mistaking for Russian vodka, like Smirnoff, which is made in America.”
Ollerhead said the response to their unique fundraiser has been nothing but positive.
“They’re just excited,” Ollerhead said of his customers. “We have a little post at the register, a write-up about it, and they’re reading that and saying ‘let me get in on that’ … so it’s been great.”
“Most of us feel like we can’t do much, but at least this is something small that we can do,” he added.