“Our goal is to upset the vodka market with a world-class product developed locally,” said Ward Karson, COO– and co-founder with CEO Vijay Caveripakkam–of Supernova Spirits, the maker of award-winning Marz Vodka. “We wanted to start at our epicenter of Santa Clara and grow outwards; Santa Clara and our customers here have been very good to us.”
Colleagues who became fast friends and partners in the high tech-consulting world of Silicon Valley, Karson and Caveripakkam were looking for a fun way to spread their wings. They decided on the spirits business.
California is already saturated with wineries. The problem with scotch is that it takes a long time to age. The two friends were excited by the challenge of introducing a super-premium, hand-crafted vodka, which is ready to drink as soon as it is distilled.
Undaunted by the competition of some 600 other American-made vodkas, they found master chemist Max Gee and distiller Tim Welch through an Internet search and bottled a first batch–just a couple hundred cases–of vodka in Petaluma in 2014.
“It was handmade, highly touched,” says Karson. “And it sold out immediately.” When initial tasters commented that the vodka tasted “out of this world,” the partners decided to call it Marz Vodka, adding an unconventional spelling twist to Mars.
Marz Vodka, which is made with French winter wheat from the Champagne region of France and California mountain water, is GMO free but not gluten free or organic. Karson considers it to be a versatile liquor for anyone looking for a world-class drinking experience, including baby boomers and millennials. He points out that vodka, categorized as a neutral grain spirit, is the single most versatile spirit.
“You can do everything with it. One out of every four drinks has vodka in it,” says Karson.
At Birk’s Restaurant, 3955 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, the bar menu includes “Marz Mission,” a handcrafted cocktail made with Marz Vodka, mint, lime, ginger-peppercorn syrup and soda.
“Our customers are very happy with Marz Vodka. Once our staff gets behind a product that’s good quality, they sell a lot of it,” said Juan Campos, Beverage Manager of Birk’s Restaurant. “I personally like Marz Vodka. I think it’s a great vodka.”
Marz super-premium vodka received a double gold medal in July 2016 at a domestic vodka blind tasting hosted by The Fifty Best (www.thefiftybest.com).
Supernova Spirits also produces three flavored vodkas. The uniquely American white cranberry vodka is the only vodka in the world market made with cranberries. It was awarded a flavored vodka gold medal in October 2016, also by The Fifty Best.
“Summer in a glass” is a citrus vodka, flavored with lemon, lime and orange oils. Spize Vodka, made with Serrano peppers and black peppercorns, gives pizzazz to Bloody Mary cocktails and goes well with the spicy food of Caveripakkam’s native India.
Special attention was given to the design of the Marz Vodka bottle, which is made of clear glass with a dynamic abstract design in orange, red and gold. They are colors that, according to Caveripakkam, connote royalty and success in the Indian culture.
“Much like fine wine, our vodkas have character, flavor and local Californian influences that any connoisseur would readily appreciate,” said Karson, originally from Illinois. “For those who are more focused on the wine and beer scene, there’s a whole other offering of gold-standard, world class and locally-made vodka we’d like to expose them to.”
In October 2016, Marz Vodka became the official vodka of the San Jose Sharks NHL franchise. It is served around the South Bay at, for example, Santana Row and California’s Great America, San Jose Marriott Hotel and Scott’s Seafood, San Jose. It can be purchased by the bottle at San Tomas Liquor, 240 Saratoga Ave. and, soon, at BevMo.
Supernova Spirits, with headquarters at 2350 Mission College Blvd., Suite 1152, Santa Clara, is already a profitable business with nationwide and worldwide distribution. Bottling was moved from Petaluma to a larger facility in Mira Loma in southern California. For information, visit www.marzvodka.com and Marz Vodka by Supernova Spirits on Facebook for daily posts.