Who Dat Vodka Makes a Splash (Biz NewOrleans)
NEW ORLEANS – Apparently, Who Dat Vodka is the vodka you didn’t know you were waiting for.
Released last Friday, the product is disappearing from shelves in liquor stores and grocery stores throughout Louisiana as its creators are scrambling to get more ready to distribute.
“We’ve got about 6,000 bottles on the market and orders keep coming in,” said Derek Domingue, a 14-year veteran of the beverage industry and one of the owners of Who Dat Spirits along with his partner Scott Galante. “The bottles come from Italy so we just placed another huge order for four times the original amount. The next batch of vodka is already distilled and ready to go.”
Domingue is the owner of Brewed and Distilled, a marketing company that represents crafts breweries and distilleries throughout Louisiana. He dreamed up this new vodka venture after the success of two beers he helped create: the Boycott Bowl Blonde Ale by Bayou Teche Brewing and Urban South’s Who Dat Golden Ale. To use the “who dat” phrase, Domingue had to license the rights from Steve Monistere, the entrepreneur who trademarked “who dat” in 1983 and then overcame a series of legal challenges to maintain ownership.
Who Dat Vodka is created, bottled, corked and labeled by hand at the Seven Three Distilling Co. on Claiborne Avenue. This week, an essential part of the packaging was even “hand delivered” back to New Orleans by Domingue himself.
“We just came back from Provo, Utah [home of printing company Fort Dearborn] with the labels for the bottles. I had to go do a press check and then I just put them in suitcases to make sure they got right back home.”
The pair hired Brendan Bayard’s Baton Rouge-based design company Tilt to create the bottle’s eye-catching label, which depicts a variety of characters who represent Domingue’s interpretation of the “who dat” way of life. The list includes New Orleans musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, 610 Stompers, Big Easy Rollergirls, street performers, service industry workers and business people — plus New Orleans Saints superfan Leroy “Whistle Monsta” Mitchell. It’s a varied group that demonstrates how being a “who dat” means more than just rooting for a certain NFL team.
“This is not a gimmick,” he said. “It’s going to be here year round. The vodka isn’t just about a single sports team – it’s something to do with the who dat nation, the way of life.”
There will be a Who Dat Vodka release party from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 20 at Gris-Gris restaurant, 1800 Magazine St. The Treme Brass Band will perform and there will be appearances by Saints superfans plus food and craft cocktails. Tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the door.