Bottling The American Dream: Part 1

Bottling the American Dream: Part 1

It was 3 a.m. and I was sitting alone in my garage. It was a cold February morning in Philadelphia and I could hear the trucks driving up and down Columbus Boulevard as they made their moonlight rounds. Bundled up in an old North Face, I patiently sat watching my small homemade pot still kick off the last drops of a fresh vodka run. Why was I up so late on this winter’s night? Because in less than 24 hours I had a meeting with a guy who could single-handedly launch Stateside Vodka. His name was Clement Pappas.

The run came to an end and I made my final hearts cut. Man, this little still has some balls. I gathered the spirit run and brought it upstairs to my kitchen. With no time to sleep, I began implementing two years of research and development to my mere three gallons of juice. There was a calculated aeration procedure to follow as well as carbon batching that would take several hours. There was a mineralization stage that needed to be followed precisely. Better make some coffee.

At 9 a.m. the batch was complete. The morning sun was at full tilt, warming my dining room and breathing life into the day ahead. The hustle and bustle of the world outside reverberated through my small city apartment. Today was the day.

For the next 6 hours I reread every word and grammatical sequence in our business plan. I recalculated every cell on the largest spreadsheet I had made to date. I was ready. Five minutes later, I was asleep…

F$ck! What time is it? I scrambled for my iPhone that had been lost somewhere in the sheets of my bed. 5:15? 5:15?!?! I jumped out of bed and ran into the shower. In 45 minutes I needed to be completely across town and looking like I came to win the day.

As I stepped up to one of the nicest homes in Philadelphia that I had ever seen, a wave of nerves raced up my spine. Luckily my brother and business partner, Bryan, was standing next to me. We’ve always had each other’s backs.  I brushed it off. Knock, knock. Game time.

Selling a vodka brand is a lot like selling a new car. Does your old one work? Sure. But do you like the way this one drives better? That is the question of the hour. The test drive is paramount.

Clement popped the bottle. The delicate concoction of passion and research mingled it’s way through the his rocks glass. Trying not to look overly anxious, I repositioned in my chair. My fate sat on the table before me. The glass was raised.  Salud.



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