Raising spirits with green tea vodka
By Nithya CalebProducts Beverages Editor pick Green Owl Vodka Green tea vodka Ontario Women in food
What happens when a vice-president at a well-known hedge fund with bullish ambition decides to leave the finance sector and pursue her passion for clean ingredients? Well, a new product hits the shelves. This is the case with Carmen Sandor, CEO of Toronto-based Green Owl Vodka, which has been distilling clean green tea vodkas in Vaughan, Ont., since 2020. It is being widely distributed across Ontario, and is expected to launch in the West Coast soon.
What made you jump from the corporate world into manufacturing beverages?
CS: After rapid success in the world of finance, I found my entrepreneurial spirit, and wanted to pursue a career grounded in passion. So, I took a leap and started experimenting with developing spirits. I imported a mezcal product just before starting Green Owl Vodka, and knew immediately I had to pursue a new path.
How has the journey been so far?
CS: A dream and a whirlwind! It’s an amazing feeling being one of the only Canadian, women-led and owned spirits at LCBO. At the same time running a business with a lean team, though exciting, is challenging. The brand’s growth has been exponential so far, and the adventure is just beginning.
What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome them?
CS: As a woman in the spirits space at times, it can be a challenge to be taken seriously. While finance is certainly a male-dominated field, being a sole proprietor and a woman in this space has challenges too, never mind learning the ins and outs of a new category at warp speed. I have stayed focused on my values and rely on both my work ethic and belief in the product to build the brand.
What’s unique about Green Owl Vodka?
CS: Everything! Green Owl Vodka is made with minimal, clean ingredients, so it’s a choice health-conscious vodka drinkers can make with confidence. Additionally, it is the only green tea flavoured vodka in Canada. Finally, Green Owl Vodka is very focused on female empowerment, which means employing female leaders and empowering women everywhere to drink responsibly and protect their cups.
Where do you source the ingredients?
CS: Green Owl Vodka is made with Canadian neutral grain. All ingredients are locally sourced with the exception of the natural green extract, which is sourced from Japan.
What are your future plans for the company?
CS: I’m focusing on establishing widespread brand awareness and making sure Green Owl Vodka is known as the smoothest shot on the market! I also want to continue to push the envelope in the industry and bring products to market with a team that truly represents the consumer – diverse, and ready for a shift. Green Owl hopes to change the way people see vodka.
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