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Hangar One

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Hangar One always knew they could make pretty great vodka, but the vodka they wanted to make, they couldn't afford to sell for £10 a bottle. When Grey Goose & Belvedere started selling a ton of vodka at £30 a bottle, they thought, let's give it a try.

This was 2001. They were two tiny companies, hand-making exquisite brandies & liqueurs in California. Connoisseurs think these brandies are absolutely fabulous, for good reasons: in California, they had access to wonderful fruit & grapes, as well as sophisticated wine-making equipment. Best of all they were free to innovate - but also had tiny old-fashioned pot stills and did their work informed by centuries of European distillation methods.

With a lot of experience making really good products out of genuine ingredients. Jorg Rupf, who spent months developing the actual vodkas, is one of the world's most inventive distillers. But there was another issue - how to exist in the vodka market. A pot still vodka from real fruit costs a lot to make, which meant they wouldn't be able to run advertisements in magazines or cut deals to get displays in stores. But, they thought, people know a lot more than they used to about alcohol, and they are ready for something real.

So they just tell their story and try to get people to taste the vodkas. They named the vodka because of where they make it (the old Alameda Naval Air Station), and put it in a simple bottle because all they really care about is the stuff inside the bottle, Hangar One vodka.