What do we love more than an entrepreneurial success story and great design? Vodka.
Our/Vodka was started by six entrepreneurs in Stockholm, Sweden in 2011. In collaboration with Great Works, a unique Swedish agency that works with new businesses at the “intersection of business development, technology and design”, the six founders started working with an idea under the supportive umbrella of French drinks giant Pernod Ricard. The idea was to create a global brand with local roots. After two years of spare-time working from their individual addresses, the idea was finally approved to be piloted in Berlin in a distillery that had been invented by Pernod Ricard to meet the experimental brand’s needs. Our/Berlin was born.
Our/Vodka is different from your usual boutique, single-source vodka brands. It’s a global vodka made by local partners in cities around the world, each version named after its home. Partnering with people who love their city and who support their neighbourhood allows those cities’ personalities, expressions and characters to be projected onto the brand, as well as the nuances of taste as the ingredients are sourced just as locally as the vodka is produced. The micro-distilleries are purpose-built to deliver a high quality vodka and small enough to fit in the urban environments of the cities, which currently includes Berlin, London, Amsterdam and locations across the US. The distilleries also work as tasting room, event space and retail facility where you can buy the vodka, as well as the other stockists and bars that stock the spirit. The small bottle has a crown cap, which is replaced with a rubber stopper once opened. Simplicity is the key for Our.
The design was a joint effort between the founders and Great Works, who are still are very much involved in the whole project. The idea was to reinvent the image of vodka.
“We didn’t want a huge, obtrusive bling-bling bottle that prides itself on diamond filtration and was mass-produced in a huge distillery,” Our/Berlin’s Fabian Dieker told sfd. “We wanted to keep it simple and underline the beauty of simplicity. Also we didn’t want to distract from the product itself, which is a super premium vodka.”
Eager to find Germany-based drinks to stock our stand at Euroshop, to serve with our equally local choice of soft drinks (a lot was based around this bar!) we decided on Our as the perfect choice, after happening upon it on a trip to the German capital. But it led us to wonder why Berlin was chosen as the founding city for a group of Swedish entrepreneurs working with a French investor.
Dieker explained: “I guess Berlin was chosen first because of its open-minded mentality and because it reflects a centre for creativity and entrepreneurship, where things are done in a different way and where a ‘glocal’ project like Our/Vodka could prove itself.”
And it has, with the brand’s roster of locations expanding as the success story makes its way around the world. Soon to open in Miami, Houston and New York – where they will have the first distillery in Manhattan since prohibition – it’s soon to become the drinks world’s worst-kept secret.