Whether you like your martini shaken or stirred, vodka is what makes the drink extra special. For many years, patrons at Washington-area bars, restaurants and liquor stores desiring a vodka martini or cocktail have ordered their favorite brands of vodka, distilled in countries including Poland, Russia, and Scandinavia.
Recently, however, area vodka devotees have noticed a new name on the shelves. With its distinctive purple-colored lightning bolt-shaped bottle, FOU-DRÉ Vodka was recently introduced to vodka lovers by a Washington area entrepreneur, Chanel Turner. Named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber), Turner created FOU-DRÉ (a play on the French phrase for “struck by lightning”) as the first true boutique-brand Ultra-Premium vodka in the Washington area.
FOU-DRÉ CEO Turner, who markets FOU-DRÉ part time and is a website developer by day, launched her premium vodka brand just a year ago. She credits The Chamber with helping her penetrate the LGBT market, a highly lucrative one for distilled spirits. “I’ve had nothing but great experiences with The Chamber,” says Turner. “The Chamber was instrumental in letting us penetrate the LGBT market, which has provided us with many new customers.
“CAGLCC was the first Chamber that we joined and has given us a great impression and fulfilled experience within area DC business Chambers. Joining CAGLCC not only introduced us to the LGBT market, but exposed the brand to other influencers and social groups within the city. The overwhelming response that we’ve received is a reflection of the esteem that CAGLCC holds.”
Turner has been a sponsor for a number of Chamber events, including the most recent Awards Gala. She has also participated in other Chamber events, including last year’s g.life.
“G.life was our first opportunity to do an event with The Chamber where we could not only serve our product to patrons, but also let them purchase a bottle if they wanted to keep the experience alive,” she says. “We were able to connect with so many different vendors and share our story while networking with potential clients.”
FOU-DRÉ was also a participant in last year’s Pride celebration. “Pride is a festive time of year and participating in the parade and reception was definitely a memorable experience,” Turner says.
Vodka lovers can enjoy FOU-DRÉ as vodka was intended, neat or on the rocks with “the over ice experience.” FOU-DRÉ Vodka can also compliment any mixer and is the perfect spirit for any craft cocktail. Distilled and bottled in South Carolina, FOU-DRÉ is an all-natural infused vodka, with a patented distillation process that removes free radicals and other substances that can create a harsh taste, instead giving the drinker the pleasant hint of pomegranate and ginger.
Initially popular with female consumers, Turner wants to increase patronage among male vodka aficionados as well. “We want men to see FOU-DRÉ as a ‘manly’ drink,” she says.
She plans future events to help expand her product’s appeal, including a mixology competition to be judged by industry leaders, as well as consumers. The company will roll out a variety of new recipes with their spring cocktail menu designed to highlight FOU-DRÉ’s gravitation towards the health libation lover. Food and bar bloggers will be invited to taste the new creations from the cocktail list.
Turner already has about 35 accounts in the Mid-Atlantic region, mostly with retail outlets. However, her vodka has begun to develop an international following, with sales in Singapore and, soon, Japan. Distribution is being explored in other countries as well. Domestically, she plans to increase penetration into the Northeastern United States.
For further information on Chanel Turner and FOU-DRÉ Vodka, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fou-dre.com.
The Chamber Means Business. For more information visit caglcc.org or facebook.com/CAGLCC. On Twitter, follow @DCLGBTBIZ.
John F. Stanton, a CAGLCC member, is the president of SRP & Associates Inc., a strategic marketing and public relations firm in Northern Virginia.