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Meet Rupert Runewitsch and Anton van der Woude of Our/Los Angeles Vodka in DTLA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rupert Runewitsch and Anton van der Woude.

Rupert and Anton, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Anton and I are best friends who have a rather interesting back story. Our fathers worked together in London in the 70s. Then by complete chance Anton grew up with my wife in a country of England called Kent. Cutting a longer story short, Anton is now the god-father of my son Huxley and also my business partner.

We both moved to California a number of years ago and fell in love with Los Angeles and all its diversity and moving parts… the sunshine helps too. Having worked in the spirits and alcohol industry for a number of years, Anton was brought on initially to run sales for Our/Los Angeles but shortly after that, was made Partner and shortly after that I joined to add some marketing expertise to his sales.

With a few distribution issues, we had a bit of a slow start but thanks to the hard work of Anton and the strength and quality of our brand, we are now available across California retailers including BevMo, Total Wine, Cost Plus, Bristol Farms, Albertsons, Pavilions, and Vons.

As we are a premium product, you can also find us around Los Angeles being served at your table by Our/Martini cart. A table service like you have never seen, where we make a bespoke Martini, each celebrating the micro-climates of Los Angeles.

We are also very excited to be launching Our/Los Angeles Podcast later this year, which takes a deep dive into the awesome and diverse history of Los Angeles. Series 1 is 11, 30 minutes episodes with some incredible speakers, ranging from a volcano expert, to a professional Mexican wrestler, to transcendental spiritual guru.

The future is looking like a lot of fun!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The alcohol industry is never smooth and furthermore, the vodka market is large and very saturated. What’s more, vodka isn’t exactly in vogue and we are a start-up. So all things being considered, there have been plenty of struggles and challenges but that is the main reason why the project excited me (Rupert Runewitsch). Having spent the majority of my career building brands with big budgets, to have the chance (and the challenge) to build a brand with limited tools and a crowded market, is what makes it so exciting because we both know it can be done and achieved with Our/Los Angeles.

We have flipped all the normal vodka associated conventions on their end and created a vodka that is smooth and actually tastes of something and presented it in a small, minimally designed 375ml bottle. We have then gone out of our way to ensure that people know and ask to drink in a certain way and that is, in most cases, as a Martini of some variety.

From a marketing POV, now is a great time to be alive for any brands, particularly new brands. You have an infinite amount of channels and tools to speak to your audience through. Hence why we have focused on some rather left-field, unconventional channels that make sense to Los Angelians… Our/Podcast

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Our/Los Angeles Vodka – what should we know?
Our/Los Angeles, a distillery in the Los Angeles Arts District and the sixth micro-distillery in the Our/Vodka family, is the first vodka brand ever in the history of the spirits industry to have both a global and local identity. Each location is part of the global Our/Vodka brand, but each city has their own distillery and uses locally sourced ingredients. Our/ Los Angeles is now available across California retailers including BevMo, Total Wine, Cost Plus, Bristol Farms, Albertsons, Pavilions, and Vons.

“Traditionally, alcohol brands are either a micro-distillery or made in large batches before being shipped around the country or world. Our/Los Angeles is different in the sense that we have both a local and global identity at the same time. Every bottle looks the same- whether you are in Los Angeles or London- bottled in unique 375ml bottles and follows the same universal recipe, but is distilled with different local ingredients creating a flavor that fits the city’s personality.  So here in Southern California, we use a patented strain of yeast traditionally used in California’s vineyards. The yeast is a two-wheat blend which makes it very soft and even adds a little bit of citrus on the back end, but it’s very clean and smooth,” said Anton van der Woude, Partner, Our/Los Angeles.

The Our/Vodka brand includes cities: Our/Berlin, Our/London, Our/Amsterdam, Our/New York, Our/Los Angeles and coming soon, Our/Miami. The parent company, Pernod Ricard, partners with local entrepreneurs who love and know their city to run each local brand.  OUR/Los Angeles is led by creative entrepreneurs Anton van der Woude and Rupert Runewitsch. The brand is furthering their ties with the city by launching the Our/Los Angeles podcast and zine which features interviews with tastemakers, artists, entrepreneurs, activists and more who represent the vibe of Los Angeles.

“We believe there’s so many unique things about Los Angeles and consider the podcast and zine an extension of our brand. Locals and visitors alike can get the full Los Angeles experience in tasting our vodka and immersing themselves in the culture of the city. They can sip locally, listen locally and read locally. It’s full circle,” said Rupert Runewitsch.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Although we share many of the same values, I believe Anton and my friendship and working relationship is key. Our skillsets are almost the complete opposite and this works amazingly well in reducing tension and allowing things to almost move in the right direction. We also have a fantastic distillery manager, who obviously is the backbone to the operation.

Pricing:

  • $21 per bottle

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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