Arts & Entertainment

Dowd on Drinks: For Vodka Co., Trickle Down More Than a Theory

Attention consumers in Florida and Michigan. You have been selected from among all 50 of these United States to get Alexandar Vodka from Macedonia.

For the moment, the rest of the country will just have to be content with the 2,756 other new vodkas introduced every week. Or so it seems.

Liquor Group Wholesale, (LIQR), a publicly-traded specialty alcohol beverage distributor headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., has signed an agreement with Kazbo Imports to represent the new import, which its PR people describe as “a five-star quality product, without the premium price. From the first class grains, to the soft, clean mountain water, to the 4 column distillation, 7 times filtered, and even the stunning imported Italian cobalt blue bottle, Alexandar Vodka is a dedication to craftsmanship, resulting in vodka of unparalleled taste and smoothness.”

Whew! That’s just great. As in, Alexandar. The Great. Of Macedonia. Nudge, nudge.

Florida and Michigan, by the way, were selected as the initial U.S. markets for Alexandar because of their sizeable Macedonian and Greek populations. (Suggested retail price: $42.)

Liquor Group Wholesale is no newcomer to importing vodkas specialty drinks to the U.S. Among its vodka products is a vodka called Firestarter, made in the former Soviet republic of Moldova.

It’s another premium product, with a touch of honey added to smooth the finish. The bottle itself looks like a fire extinguisher, complete with a locking pin, trigger and a nozzle through which the vodka is poured. It’s the latest rage on the California club scene, where fads are fast and furious. (Suggested retail price: $24.99.)

Or, how about Jazz Vodka? The Polish grain vodka is packaged in a trumpet-shaped bottle and marketed for the jazz lover as well as the vodka aficionado. (Suggested retail price: $22.99.)

Or, Pshenychna Vodka? It’s a Russian grain vodka packaged in a rifle-shaped bottle and rated “Exceptional” by the Beverage Tasting Institute. (Suggested retail price: $22.98.)

Or, Debowa Polska Vodka? It’s a rye-based product infused with a touch of “natural extracts” (?) and oak chips. (Suggested retaikl price: $28.99.)

The list goes on, not only from this importer, but from literally dozens of others.

It is rare that one store can stock all the brands you can read or hear about, given their proliferation and the death struggle over shelf space in most stores. Luckily, online sales venues are numerous and government regulations are not as cumbersome as they are for wine sales and shipment.

So, if you’re in the mood to invest both some shoe leather and some keystrokes to do your shopping, give the brands I’ve mentioned a look. Or, add to your list the likes of Han, a Chinese barley vodka infused and blended with polished rice rather than water ($20.99); Pinky Vodka (not to be confused with p.i.n.k. vodka), a Swedish winter wheat product blended with rose and violet petals and 10 other botanicals — which, in my mind, puts it in the gin category ($25); Blavod Black Vodka from the United Kingdom, which adds color from the catechu herb of Africa and Asia ($15.99), and Boomerang, a chardonnay grape vodka from Australia ($19.99).

These are just a few of the flood of vodkas now on the world market, something you’ll note as you do your own research.

(William M. Dowd covers the adult beverage industry online at