York County friends launch new vodka brand
Patrick Shorb and Matt Glaser are hoping to make vodka fun again, at least for their peers in the millennial generation.
The two friends from York County founded Holla Spirits LLC, which just launched Holla Vodka, a Pennsylvania-produced vodka that will soon be available in midstate bars and nightclubs.
"When we were in college at Penn State, we weren't impressed with what the conglomerates were doing," Shorb said.
The top-shelf premium vodkas on the market are too expensive for most young people, while the cheaper alternatives sacrifice quality and originality, he said.
Holla Vodka aims to be somewhere in between. It's priced at just under $20 per bottle and it's sold in a fun ultraviolet-reactive bottle, so it will stand out in bars and nightclubs.
Plus, the name is meant to promote a spirit of celebration and camaraderie, the founders said.
"Vodka is meant to be very social," Shorb said.
Shorb, 31, and Glaser, 32, didn't have the resources to start their own distillery to produce the vodka. However, they have aligned with Philadelphia Distilling and Brandywine Branch Distilling to make their unique brand.
Production began last year. Distribution of the product began at the beginning of this year.
Holla Vodka is currently sold online through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's special liquor order, or SLO, system. The owners also plan to start distributing into Delaware, New York and New Jersey over the coming months, and they've been busy lining up local bar and restaurant accounts.
"The first five in York will hopefully be placing orders this week," Shorb said.
The company hopes to expand into Harrisburg, Lancaster, State College and the Philadelphia area, he said. "Hopefully we'll penetrate eastern and Central Pennsylvania by the end of this year."
Getting into the PLCB's retail stores is another goal.
If the vodka does well, Shorb said it's possible that Holla will branch out with flavored products or other spirits. Bourbon and gin are possibilities, he said.
"At this point, we're focused on the core product. We'll leave it up to our followers to choose what's next," he said.