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London bars back Ukraine

The operators of UK bars London Cocktail Club and Banyan have removed Russian-made alcohol from their venues to show their support for Ukraine.

Pinch bar in London
Pinch bar in London was founded by Ukrainian couple Yana Galiyeva and Alex Ribalicenko

Nightcap, operator of London Cocktail Club, Adventure Bar Group (Tonight Josephine, Blame Gloria) and the recently acquired Barrio Bars, said it had removed all Russian-made alcohol from its venues.

Nightcap founder Sarah Willingham said: “The devastation in Ukraine is heartbreaking, and I cannot start to comprehend what it must be like for the people of Ukraine.

“It’s hard to sit here in our warm safe homes and do nothing. We have donated money, but from a business point of view we (the senior team and the staff) wanted to do something; anything to show our support and so therefore we have removed all Russian vodka/alcohol from our bars across the whole of the Nightcap estate. It’s a little thing but the littler things we do, the bigger the impact will be.”

Furthermore, Nightcap has created a cocktail made entirely from Ukrainian vodka, which will be available across all its bars. All proceeds will go towards supporting Ukraine.

Arc Inspirations, which operates the Banyan and Manahatta bar brands across the UK, also said on Twitter that it would no longer pour Russian vodka at its venues.

Meanwhile, London bar Pinch has pledged to donate 15% of its profits to the Ukrainian armed forces to ‘help take a stand against the oppression’, it announced on Instagram.

Pinch opened in London’s Fitzrovia neighbourhood in December 2021, with a focus on Ukrainian-style food and drinks. The venue’s signature drink is nalivka, a Ukrainian spirit infused with herbs, berries or roots, which is offered in a variety of flavours by the glass.

On the venue’s Instagram page, Pinch founders Yana Galiyeva and Alex Ribalicenko, who are from Ukraine, said they would “stand with the efforts of their countrymen in these difficult times”.

The venue hosted a charity fundraiser earlier this week to raise money for British-Ukrainian Aid.

A donation link on the venue’s Instagram page directs people to the National Bank of Ukraine.

US and Canadian provinces, including Ontario, have also removed all alcoholic products produced in Russia from their stores.

Earlier this week, The Spirits Business spoke with the CEO of Ukrainian vodka Nemiroff about life in the now war-torn country.

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