New grape vodka hopes to challenge Ciroc16th October, 2013 by Amy Hopkins
Hanson of Sonoma, a new line of organic grape vodkas produced in California, is launching this October with a goal to eventually take on Diageo’s Ciroc.
Due to begin distribution in California on 15 October, Hanson of Sonoma is a certified gluten-free, USDA organic, non-GMO grape vodka available in Original, Cucumber-Mint, Espresso, Mandarin, Ginger and Boysenberry-Blueberry varieties.
Owned by the Hanson family – led by father Scott and distilled by son Chris with additional involvement from sons Brandon and Darren, Hanson has ambitious plans to quickly gain distribution across international markets with a particular aim to break into the UK.
“Our plans are to take it abroad,” said Scott Hanson, founder of Hanson of Sonoma. “One of the reasons we did a grape-based vodka is because there aren’t a lot of people doing it, and having looked at the success of Ciroc we realised people are starting to acknowledge and appreciate them. While Ciroc is made in the South of France, one of the best growing regions in the world, ours is a grape base from California. We also have world class grapes growing in our backyard.
“Our plan is to be a small batch manufacturer but retain our quality while we achieve our goal of growing into both domestic and international markets.”
While Hanson of Sonoma is open to interest from distributors in the UK, for now the brand is working with Young’s Market in California, and Chicago-based Wirtz Beverage on gaining a presence across the Midwest.
To support its growth, Hanson of Sonoma is in the midst of building a larger distillery with two 500-gallon stills that are expected to come on-line in April 2014, quadrupling its current capacity.
The Hanson family first became involved in distilling when Chris Hanson studied economics in London and began visiting breweries and distilleries throughout Europe. While brother Brandon also had an interest for distilling and flavouring spirits at home, father Scott had also become involved in the industry, having just completed the production of 1920s Prohibition movie Lawless with The Weinstein Company, starring Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman.