This month, a new, ultra-premium vodka is hitting the local wine and spirits shops. Meet Golia Vodka—the sleek, upscale selection joining the overpopulated, flavored shelves by way of Mongolia, as scouted, sourced and distilled by Narberth entrepreneur, David Solomon.
What pushes a Main Liner to trek to Mongolia, thirsty for what may be the smoothest vodka yet? Why do you need to snag your share of uber-chic vodka immediately? All the details below, courtesy of our latest Q&A with Solomon himself.
TD: You’ve opened franchises all over the world. What made you decide to jump into the liquor market?
DS: I understand that the vodka market can seem like a crowded space, but numbers don’t concern me. I know what it is like to be mice that tap dance around the elephants.
I was in the DVD vending business [developed idea for what became Redbox] and I was told at the start that big box stores wouldn’t give us the time of day—Blockbuster showed us the door. I was also told that Internet companies and Netflix would kill us, and now, Redbox has 34,000 locations.
TD: Impressive! Admire your perseverance. Can you give our readers a brief back story how the idea of bringing Mongolian vodka to the states became a reality?
DS: I’ve done entrepreneurial businesses, from consumer and retail goods, to shopping centers, DVD machines, and 20 Toys R Us stores outside the United States. My friend has been a trader in Hong Kong for 13 years and took a junket to Mongolia. While there, he fell in love with a tour guide and they have now been there for the last dozen years. Together, the two of them built huge conglomerates that now own about half the country—everything from a cement factory, apartments, hotels, larger real estate and security.
I went to visit him, and he said, “Let’s put together a new adventure. Help me bring Redbox and Toys R Us here.” While he said this, we were drinking this vodka, and I said that it was “amazing” and it would be more interesting to take the vodka to the rest of the world.
TD: What makes this Mongolian vodka so “amazing”?
DS: There are two things that make vodka great—and it needs to have both; can’t have one without the other: the ingredients and the filtration and distillation processes. Also, a good vodka is exceptionally smooth.
In Mongolia, they have the finest ingredients on the planet. Our water’s sourced 50 feet below the surface, and it’s exceptional. The deep-underground mountain water source produces pure, cold H2O—you just can’t duplicate the water we are getting.
TD: How about the grains that go into the fermentation?
The wheat we use is the best wheat in all of Asia. It’s the wheat that everyone is trying to get. It’s organic and harvested courtesy of no till and has ancient roots.
TD: The distilling processes of Golia Vodka sets it apart from other brands on the market. Can you explain the filtering process of this brand?
DS: We take each batch and distill at least six times through silver and platinum, making sure all the impurities are removed. The end result is very smooth with no burn, something you could drink all night and not have a hangover the next day.
TD: Golia Vodka is only first debuting in Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey market? Why’s this? Is there a plan to eventually expand nationwide?
DS: The idea was to be big in our backyard first. Rather be inch-wide than mile deep. This is why we agreed to be the official vodka of the Flyers, and the official vodka of the Prudential Center too. We’re also sponsoring the pool at Valley Forge Casino Resort. We felt that it’s important to have a major presence in our own backyard.
TD: Your sales pitch is for “manly men” — what about Golia Vodka do you think appeals to burly males?
DS: We’re looking to appeal to manly men and the women who love them—women who like guys with beards (like you). We’re playing off of the Mongolian history, the conquering hordes.
TD: Fitting the manly mold, Golia Vodka is the official premium vodka being stocked at the Prudential Center (with New Jersey Devils) and Wells Fargo Center (with Philadelphia Flyers). Can you discuss this involvement? There’s an ice lounge too, yes?
DS: At the Prudential Center is our new Golia Ice Lounge. We’re going to be serving vodka for every game in that place—it’s great way to showcase the brand, high-visibility, amongst great food and drinks. The bar top is made of ice, so you have a perfectly chilled drink every time. The lounge is about 5,000 sq. ft—pretty extensive.
TD: You’re from the Main Line area, a resident of Narberth. Where can we order Golia on the Main Line?
DS: We’re in various bars and restaurants area-wide. We’re also at the Wells Fargo Center, XFINITY Live, McFadden’s, Del Frisco’s, Public House. Basically, if it’s a steakhouse or sports bar, sporting venue or casino, we’ll be wherever our audience will be.
TD: What is your favorite mixer for Golia?
DS: We hired Gordon Ramsay’s mixologist to develop signature cocktails for us. He created the Conquered Lands Collection which takes ingredients that Genghis Khan conquered and flips them into cool, unique cocktails. We wanted to highlight and show off the character and smoothness of Golia through authentic ingredients, such as Thai basil, ginger and lemongrass.
TD: Give me your last plug for your brand-new Mongolia-bred vodka:
DS: We’re going back to what there should be on the vodka shelf—vodka-flavored vodka. We’re playing on our roots and we’re able to stands up to that [vodka] audience served neat or on the rocks. Enjoy it!
Through the month of October, spy Golia Vodka in area-wide Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores and participate in the “Enter to Win a Flyers Experience” contest. Flyers fans and Golia Vodka lovers enter to win game tickets, autographed merchandise, ride the Zamboni, meet and greet alumni and more.
Golia Vodka retails per 750ml bottle at $29.99. To learn more, visit goliavodka.com.