Vodka and Russia go together like dive bars and Boilermakers. The neutral spirit is a $40 billion industry in Russia, and the American portrayal of Russians often involves drinking vodka fast and in large quantities. This could lead you to believe that Russian vodka is a big deal in America. But in reality, Russian vodka isn’t what Americans turn to first when buying imported vodka. It doesn’t even make the top five.
According to alcohol import reports from the Distilled Spirits Council, Russia is only the eighth largest vodka importer to the U.S. by volume, and the seventh by dollar amount. The country with arguably the strongest association with vodka sells less vodka in the U.S. than countries that many Americans would have trouble pointing to on a map.
The total amount of vodka imported to the U.S. from Russia in 2017 was 555,845 proof gallons (a liquid gallon of spirit at 50 percent alcohol by volume, making a standard 40 percent ABV bottle around .8 proof gallons). The U.S. imported 39,001,202 proof gallons of vodka total in that time frame, meaning Russian vodka makes up only around 1.4 percent of foreign vodka in the U.S. According to the Distilled Spirits Council import volume numbers, the countries ahead of Russia by volume are: