In the highly competitive international vodka market—it generated 4.8 billion in revenue last year alone—a new trend is emerging: make great American vodka, and brand it accordingly. Most vodkas aimed at American audiences (think Grey Goose and Belvedere) are actually distilled in Europe (France and Poland, respectively.) But enter One Roq, a new Vodka hoping to alter the mindset of domestic consumers.
“There’s been decades worth of conditioning via advertising to make Americans think that all vodka is supposed to come from Europe and Russia, when that’s just not true,” said One Roq CEO Garrett Green from his office in upstate New York. “I can’t walk into an American liquor store and identify a premium American vodka—that’s a head scratcher,” he added.
There are plenty of American vodkas (the most popular being San Francisco’s SKYY, another being Austin’s Tito’s handmade Vodka), but only a few have actively tried to position their domestic qualities as a marketing angle against “exotic” brands like Svedka, which flaunt their immigrant status as a selling point.
In recent years, several spirits entrepreneurs have had the same idea as Green. Names like Glacier vodka and Americana vodka have used patriotism as a selling point, but Green says no one has managed to catapult their tipple into what he calls the “elite high class American category.” Green is serious about spending what it takes to get a toehold in the marketplace next year, and is planning a television ad campaign to raise awareness of his brand, which sports a subtle red, white, and blue logo.
In the meantime, he held an unofficial debut of sorts over the weekend at Siren Studios’ rooftop in Los Angeles to raise money for CoachArt. One Roq was the vodka sponsor at the party, and several attendees remarked how it was the first time they’d seen the spirit (Green confirms the sponsorship marked a sort of unofficial debut and that more sponsored events are forthcoming in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Denver, near the vodka’s distillery).
Can One Roq—which boasts a tart raspberry flavor in addition to its standard and limited lines—make it in a highly competitive market, when giants like Grey Goose thrive under their “distilled and bottled in France” tagline? It’s too soon to tell, but Green seems determined to give it an epic, American try.