When one thinks of vodka, images of cold, clear liquid, with a nice burn, spring to mind. Vodka recalls cold climates. It is a drink distilled in Poland or in Russia, made from potatoes, and served with caviar. It’s a James Bond sip; austere and bracing.
However, country music legend Blake Shelton wants you think of vodka differently. He wants you to think of the American heartland. Of farming, sunny corn fields, Solo cups, and evenings on porches with acoustic guitars.
Changing the Vodka Game
Smithworks Vodka is his new adventure, and it’s quickly proving that Shelton’s not only talented at country music. He is awfully skilled at spirits. This is witnessed in this triple-distilled, charcoal filtered, corn vodka that is super smooth and ideal for any season. Especially, those with tailgates.
“Vodka has always been a personal favorite of mine,” says Shelton, who sold the first bottles in fall of 2018. “We officially launched Smithworks in 2016, but being a part of the production process started a bit earlier. It was awesome to be able to be a part of creating Smithworks from the beginning. From taste tests to finishing with the actual bottle design, it’s been an extremely rewarding experience seeing how much it has grown over the three short years it’s been around.”
While there may be plenty of gimmicky spirits endorsed by celebrities on the market, this one is genuine. This is obvious from the amount of time Blake Shelton puts in between touring and song writing, to the beautiful flavor of the finished product. He admits being surprised at the crossover between making vodka and his day job, you know, that small music career that has afforded him 24 No. 1 hit singles, 7 Grammy nominations, and a role as a judge on The Voice.
“Both (passions) are special, because I had the opportunity to develop something from my own creativity that is meant to connect with a larger audience and be enjoyed with family and friends,” he says. “I’m hoping both my music and Smithworks bring people together. In terms of what’s challenging, it’s just been crazy to learn this new industry and start this second part of my career. It’s been cool getting to brainstorm ideas of how to get people aware of Smithworks, see it grow, and meet so many cool people over in Fort Smith who bring the brand to life.”
Building the Smithworks Vodka Brand
The brand first catches the eye behind the bar or on the shelf for the label, featuring a block print of a bright red tractor. Farming is central to the mission. Smithworks sources the corn strictly from the American Midwest, specifically Kansas, Missouri, and Shelton’s home state of Oklahoma.
The vodka is finished and bottled in Fort Smith, Arkansas, at 80 proof. It’s a working man’s spirit, with the finish you’d expect from elite brands like Grey Goose, Belvedere, and Ketel One. Only in this case, it’s got those beat by being fully American-made.
“Being from Oklahoma and still living there, I have such a special connection to the Heartland,” Shelton continues. “It felt only right that Smithworks should come from the Heartland. Especially since we have all of the freshest ingredients needed to make the vodka right here.”
If you caught Blake Shelton with a cup in his hand, it would likely be as red as that tractor on the label. He’s an admitted fan of serving drinks in a classic Solo cup, something he sees on his tours and connects to his fanbase. “I feel honored to be able to offer cheers to them,” he laughs.