When Victor Ruiz I studied industrial engineering, the last thing I imagined was that I would end up building a company around a new premium spirit. He had his first job at Endesa, in the field of renewable energies. “It’s a world that’s close to my heart,” he says. However, he later changed companies and worked for another German electro multinational, which led to him living in China for a year and in Munich for another. He was in these when he started feeling the entrepreneurship virus his father had instilled in him. I wanted to do something but couldn’t find what.

As is so often the case, like much Víctor Ruiz, the idea arose out of a personal need. A fan of late-night parties from his youngest teens – he’s now 32 – he cared less about alcohol consumption than the pounds he gained from excess sugar, Coca-Cola or other fizzy drinks Waist stuck to their cocktails with vodka. He also learned of a trend in the United States, with particular roots in New York, that pointed to the consumption of vodka soda as a favorite nightlife drink. There he found his business opportunity.

He started looking for a new product while studying for his MBA at London Business School. I wanted something similar to vodka soda but without the soda and with a Mediterranean flavor. The same friends who came to his parties were also the ones testing the new flavors of Ruiz. “Since the drink was free, they didn’t protest much,” he says. The final test was carried out in the living room of his home, where he organized a big party where he asked all the guests to rate the different proposals.

The first vodka with a Mediterranean flavor

This is how a vodka with citrus essence was finally born, thanks to the use of natural lemon juice and a little lime, which can only be combined with water. The result was a product with 40% less calories than any usual cocktail, healthier because it avoids the use of sugar and additives and whose main disadvantage is that it penetrates like water. The brand to market the product is VITA vodka a spirit positioned as the world’s first Mediterranean vodka and marketed as a premium product in the most important gourmet points.

To get funding and launch the product, he organized a crowdfunding campaign on the platform Crowdcube with which he achieved a collection of 300,000 euros thanks to the participation of 540 investors. He later received a participation loan from Enisa of 100,000 euros and aroused the interest of other investors closely associated with this industry, such as Michel Rekaltformer marketing director of Bacardi and Moët Henssy.

Although production takes place in a small distillery in Catalonia, the market chosen for its launch was the British one, taking advantage of the fact that Ruiz lived in London at the time and vodka consumption is 20 times higher than in Spain. Currently, VITAL Vodka is present in more than 250 points of sale, almost 50% of whose revenues are distributed from the United Kingdom and the rest of the countries where they sell besides Spain, such as Mexico and , if negotiations progress, soon in Australia. The Covid has inflicted losses on them, taking into account the restrictions on nightlife, particularly in London, which they are trying to offset with online sales via Amazon.

A product for millennials

This does not discourage Víctor Ruiz in his intention to rewrite the alcoholic beverages market, which focuses on those who “want to enjoy the pleasure of a drink without sacrificing a healthy lifestyle”. The success of what some refer to as vodka water is mostly being reaped among millennial audiences in their 20s and 30s. Maybe they need to thank them for the award they received SIP awardsthe only spirits competition in which the winners are determined by consumers, “an award that made us particularly happy”.