We all dream about breaking free from the daily grind, cashing in the big house, car and life insurance (on your partner!). But what next? Your pipe dream may be a little vineyard in Tuscany, Zebra farm in Kenya or dive school in Mexico (the perfect hunting ground for a new, improved better half). But how many of us are actually prepared to put our hard-earned on the line?
Not so Jan-Roman Potocki who gave up a successful career in banking to resurrect his family business and enter into the cut throat vodka secto – a world in which new vodka brands appear and disappear like Beckham’s haircuts. Is there a method to his madness?
“I earned good money in banking, but I wanted to do something different, to live according to my own rules. I wanted my Polish roots, family tradition and history to be present in my work. I had been thinking about doing it all my life, so when the opportunity arose I felt up to the challenge. There was a little money in the bank so I took the plunge” said Jan-Roman. â€œAlso at the time the super-premium segment wasn’t as crowded. There was Belvedere and Grey Goose and few other imitators.” he added. His initial start-up investment was $400K in 2002 and the projected turnover for 2008 is just shy of a $1 million.
Whilst most cool vodka brands are manufactured by our advertising chums in Soho, Potocki Wodka (pronounced Po-toh-tski vood-ka) is rarely endowed with an authentic heritage. The aristocratic Potocki family distilled vodkas from 1816 until World War II and today Jan-Roman oversees production at a small distillery in Western Poland.
Whilst our advertising friends shout about quadruple distillation and charcoal bed filtration, Jan-Roman quietly tells us that this strips out aroma and taste. Good vodka shouldn’t be neutral and tasteless and although Potocki Wodka is the ultimate dry Martini ingredient it is unusually delicious neat, especially with food such as caviar or smoked salmon. It has a rich creamy texture with notes of nuts, pepper and aniseed. Sorry Arabella – what was that you said about quadruple distillation?
In less than five years with little budget for advertising or marketing (you should see his carbon footprint!) Jan-Roman has succeeded in placing his vodka worldwide in up-market establishments that meet his exacting criteria.
“You will only find my product where the people behind the bar and in the kitchen are as passionate about taste as I am.” said Jan-Roman
Unsurprisingly you won’t find his vodka in most ad-land watering holes. Not only is this a delicious vodka, but it embodies the spirit of freedom that we all so crave.
In London Potocki Wodka is available at: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Baltic, Berry Bros, Dukes Bar, Fortnum & Masons, Harvey Nichols, Lea & Sandeman, Selfridges, Uncorked and Zuma