Backed by Chad Greenway, Minnesota vodka to make Sioux Falls debut

Oct. 18, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars.

A vodka inspired by a Minnesota Vikings touchdown will bring Chad Greenway to town next week to help launch the spirit in Sioux Falls.

Gray Duck Spirits was founded following Kyle Rudolph’s 2017 touchdown celebration, which set off a conversation about how in Minnesota the game is Duck, Duck, Gray Duck instead of Duck, Duck, Goose.

Some friends and co-workers became entrepreneurs after asking themselves: If it’s not “goose,” then why isn’t there a Gray Duck vodka?

That sent Jerry Schulz and Mark Cotter, who live in Illinois, and Jamie Quesnel, an Augustana University alum living in Minnesota, into research mode.

“We met with an attorney to trademark it in January, and that’s when the project got underway,” Schulz said.

A childhood friend of Cotter played football with Greenway, leading to a connection that eventually brought the retired linebacker in as a business partner.

“He was really excited about the project and liked the idea,” Quesnel said. “He’s attached himself to this and has taken an active role in the company.”

Greenway will be at JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars, 3000 W. 57th St., from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 25 to help launch Gray Duck vodka in Sioux Falls.

“I thought the product was quite good,” JJ’s owner Tom Slattery said. “It’s got great flavor and character, and this is coming from a whiskey guy. There is a rather heavy dose of vanilla on the palate that I found very enjoyable. I can’t wait until Paul and Jean get their hands on it to see what they can do.”

To celebrate the launch, guests will be able to watch Thursday night football with Greenway, enjoy cocktails crafted around the flavor profile of Gray Duck by Paul Squyer and indulge in snacks and treats created with the vodka by Jean Slattery at The Boozy Bakery.

The event is free to the public but is open to those 21 and older.

Gray Duck had planned to launch in the Twin Cities and grow from there, but it took off fast and now is offered at 120 Minnesota locations and growing.

“Through our social media presence, it’s taken us to the entire state, and demand is so strong we had to make a move to the Dakotas very quickly,” Cotter said.

The company gets calls and emails daily from South Dakotans asking about the vodka, which is distilled in Minnesota and uses corn grown there.

“We think Midwest corn tastes better,” Quesnel said. “It has a touch of sweet and finishes very smooth.”

Midwestern vodkas have grown in popularity, Slattery said.

“With the rise in craft distilleries, vodka, gin and rum are the primary market entries, as they don’t need to age. We have a couple here in South Dakota, and there are a handful of craft distilleries in Minnesota. If I’m not mistaken, Gray Duck is the first to use all corn, however,” he said.

JJ’s will carry the vodka following the Oct. 25 launch.

“It will fit right in with our growing selection of premium vodkas made in the USA. The price is right, and the product is good. Plus, I think the demand will justify its existence,” Slattery said.

 

Backed by Chad Greenway, Minnesota vodka to make Sioux Falls debut

A vodka inspired by a Minnesota Vikings touchdown will bring Chad Greenway to town next week to help launch the spirit in Sioux Falls.

News Tip

Have a business news item to share with us?

Scroll to top