They’re drinking it where?! Wanaka’s Broken Shed Vodka last year tripled its US sales and increased its number of stocking outlets by 1300%…and it’s patting the backs of two key appointments in the market to continue the success.
Following its soaring success in the United States over the past 18 months, Broken Shed Vodka is eyeing its other potential markets. One of its two high-profile industry veteran appointments in the past month – new executive vice president of business development Steve Bellini – says it’s clear that retailers across the States are re-evaluating their selection of vodka brands.
As almost one-in-three bottles of spirits sold in the US is vodka, the evolution is quite natural, he says. “I’m confident that Broken Shed is a unique and profitable opportunity in the changing vodka set.”
The company has come a long way since starting to manufacture its award-winning vodka and rolling it out across the US.
Known for its distinctive and clean taste, the vodka uses two natural ingredients – whey distillate ‘Milk Honey’ and water taken from two pristine sources, including a naturally mineralised 15,000-year-old aquifer in the Southern Alps.
The brand’s founders – ex-pat Americans living in New Zealand – realised they had amazing resources available to them and set out to develop their proprietary vodka recipe from an old shed on the shores of Lake Wanaka. With Kiwi drinks alchemist Mark Simmonds on board, they perfected the recipe and named it Broken Shed to honour the brand’s birthplace.
Executive vice president Bellini has more than 40 years’ experience in world-renowned brands such as Jägermeister, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Maker’s Mark and Absolut Vodka. He is joined by new chief marketing officer Jean-Marie Heins, who comes from top shelf brands Casamigos Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka and Jägermeister. He says the brand has shown great promise throughout Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Kentucky and California, with Michigan being introduced to Broken Shed this month.
The growth has coincided with a number of prestigious awards for Broken Shed Vodka, including a Platinum Medal at the 2017 SIP Awards and Double Gold in Spirits at the 2017 74th WSWA Exhibition & Convention Tasting Competition.
Wanaka local and co-founder Mark Simmonds says the brand is in a strong position going forward, and believes these new appointments will play a pivotal role in growing the brand in the US and internationally.
“For a small vodka brand out of Wanaka, we’ve seen some great success over the years. This comes down to the smooth taste of our vodka, which has a universal appeal and a taste profile that has received some incredible reviews from drink critics across the USA,” he says. “We are exactly where I dreamed we would be in terms of breaking into the US market and making some real inroads and traction there. I’m excited to see where our team will take the brand and the level of success we are yet to achieve.”
Heins says she is proud to join Broken Shed Distilleries. “I am incredibly excited to have this opportunity to work with our Kiwi-based and US teams to further develop the brand. Broken Shed Vodka is a gem of a product with a fantastic clean, crisp taste and a wonderful brand story.”