New Minnesota-made vodka company will give half its profits to female entrepreneurs

Her Spirit Vodka says it's about supporting a good cause.

Enjoying your next cocktail could help fund a local woman's small business venture.

Her Spirit Vodka, a Minnesota-made spirit brand launching later this month, plans to give half of its profits to female entrepreneurs on a yearly basis.

The "vodka that gives half back to her" has been in the works for two years. It's the brainchild of Kjersten Merila and her husband Steve (though Kjersten is 100 percent owner).

The couple told City Pages they were touring distilleries on an anniversary trip in 2015 when they had an idea to create a top shelf spirit with a cause behind it. 

As the founder of Big Wood Brewery in White Bear Lake, Merila's husband was already an entrepreneur. But as Her's website says,his wife was a "no non-sense get it done kind of woman" who had always worked in the corporate world, and wasn't sure about making the leap.

That's why the couple chose women entrepreneurs as their cause – to inspire other women to follow their dreams.

Her Spirit Vodka began giving back even before the brand launched, a news release says, making a $5,000 donation to workout and lifestyle apparel company MAI.

Initially, the company will focus on donating profits to Minnesota-based female entrepreneurs, with a goal of spreading the giveback nationwide someday, the release says. 

The couple told White Bear Lake Mag that finding entrepreneurs to receive the money will be "like a local Shark Tank." Women will submit applications to an advisory board of women, who will select finalists to go in front of a group of five entrepreneurs.

Kjersten and Steve Merila are also the hosts of a weekly podcast called "It's All About Her," where the couple shares inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs they've met while preparing to launch their vodka brand.

Launch party

Her Spirit Vodka is made from corn sourced in the U.S., and is distilled six times in Princeton, Minnesota. The suggested retail price is $19.99 for a one-liter bottle. 

You can sample some or pick up a bottle at the launch party on Jan. 27 at the Liquor Barrel in Mahtomedi. They're expecting folks to line up outside at 8:30 a.m. to show their support for women entrepreneurs. 

Merila will be there to chat with everyone while her husband serves free hot beverages and sweet treats until 10:30 a.m. The first 25 customers will receive VIP bags. 

“We started this project two years ago and seeing the vodka on the shelf and so many women there supporting each other will be an overwhelming feeling," Kjersten Merila said in the news release.

If getting up that early on a Saturday isn't your style, they'll be moving the party to Roma in Mahtomedi at 11 a.m. for bloody marys and more prize giveaways. 

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