One of the nation’s top Vodka’s is based out of Miami, FL. David Katz the creator of the Russian made ZYR Vodka began this dream many years ago. Dave always had a fascinating with Russia. He took Russian in college and even studied abroad in Moscow, mostly to get out of the 3-semester requirement at the time. He ended up developing a real passion for all things Russian, and moved there after graduating, at first for a few months to perfect his language. Later Katz landed a job in manufacturing and marketing, for Miami’s Ben Lebow (Brooke Group, now Vector Group).
Dave moved back to the USA around the millennium and considered his next moves with Russia, branding, sales, marketing, and sampled all of the ocean of vodka brands hitting the US shores. He knew he could find a better Vodka, so at first, he aimed to find one and import. After more than a dozen trips and 40 factories throughout Russia in 2000-2002, led him to the decision that making his own recipe.
Almost all recipes and brands that existed added lots of things (and still do). He hired Muts & Joy in NY to create the package and named Zyr from a song he loved Zyrkalo Mira, or reflection of the world. He started out of his bedroom in Manhattan, with no knowledge or any distributor.
Sales began in July 2002 in the Hamptons and NYC, but as Thanksgiving approached, he learned that most stores and restaurants said come back closer to Valentine’s Day.
So, his small team rented an apartment on South Beach, FL and began going door to door in 2003. He closed the NY office in 2008 and consolidated, and is now based in Downtown Dadeland, close to his home.
ZYR was submitted for reviews back in 2002/03 and it won World Spirits Competition, which is considered the highest rating from Wine Enthusiast.
The Florida community has been wonderful to Dave. FL overtook NY as the top market a few years ago, and Dave’s national distributor is based here, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. He has taught at FIU for years vodka and gin, and has sampled at Deering Estate (community partner of the year) and Easter Seals events and so, so many more charities and events. Each event, people love the local guy angle and of course Zyr.
“A vodka with the full flavor of Russian vodkas and the smoothness American drinkers prefer.” Food and Wine
“Palate entry reflects the spirit’s Russian heritage as the dry-off taste of grain mash blankets the tongue in richly textured waves” – Wine Enthusiast
The locally owned stores, as well as locally owned chains have been wonderful, with near-perfect distribution. You can find Zyr in any Big Daddy and Vintage, Crown, Mega and basically all stores. Total Wine,ABC, Winn Dixie, all Publix stores, every Walgreens even. The restaurants too have been very open to try something new and of high quality, with a local face. These include the Moscow Mule signature drink at Joe’s Stone Crabs, and a signature drink at Prime112.
Zyr is even the favorite vodka of all Flanigans, and featured at Tropical Chinese. It is in many local spots and is a favorite among South Florida locals. Zyr is also at many of the top restaurants and just about every store.
You can learn more about Zyr Vodka at: https://zyrvodka.com/