BUFFALO, NY — If you have the right publicist, you can get an easy mention in the celebrity-mad New York City media. Quick example: Double Cross Vodka got a free mention in the New York Post’s “Page Six” gossip report, linked with singer John Legend being “spotted” drinking it at “the rooftop Intermix party on the West Side” the other day.
But getting noticed in this Western New York market where vodka already accounts for nearly half the liquor sales is taking a little more doing. The pricey ($40 to $45 a bottle) Slovakian product that first appeared two years ago is getting a soft launch at a number of restaurants, bars and liquor stores here because several people involved with the distiller have ties to the region and want to push the brand.
Company founders Malcolm Lloyd and John Gellner are in the process of slowly positioning Double Cross as a high-end choice on a market-by-market basis, a very successful strategy for Grey Goose when it entered the crowded field. One of the early Double Cross investors was Ross Arthurs, from Lewiston, near Buffalo. His firm, Princeton Investment Partners, eventually was hired as the startup company’s financial consultant with an equity stake.
Arthurs eventually became the company’s chief financial officer and several other Buffalo area people began investing, to the point that at least 10% of the company’s money came from the region. A niece, Lindsay Arthurs, is the New York State sales rep.
Double Cross is distilled and filtered seven times in small batches from winter wheat, and sold in an unusual rectangular bottle. It was the first vodka to win gold medals for both flavor and packaging at the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.
Since launching in New York City and New Jersey in September 2008, the company has moved its product into cities in New England, Florida and Texas and now Buffalo. Although the company will not give precise figures, it says sales have doubled in the past 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.
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