The vodka market is flooded, admits Justin Reitmeyer, one of two UTSA students behind the new Y Vodka, but he and partner Brett Cohen thought they saw a significant untapped niche: their generation. “Our demographic has a lot of spending power,” Reitmeyer told A-B last month. “but we also like simplicity.” Another word for simplicity, maybe? Value. The Y boys, as their publicist likes to call them, spent a year developing their corn-based vodka in partnership with Frank-Lin Distillery in San Jose, California. They wanted the finish of a high-end spirit like Grey Goose, but not the $30 pricetag. Y, which is distributed by Glazer’s, retails around $19.99, and it’s not over-polished. Too many runs through a filter, and you start to taste the carbon, Reitmeyer says. Y retains “the good smooth taste of the actual ethanol.”
“We’re going to push this thing grassroots-style,” he said, which includes, of course, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, where you can keep an eye out for a billboard-design contest and promo appearances by the duo. “We really pride ourselves on pushing our product in person.” Which should mean a lot of travel, because, he adds, they don’t want to be seen as just a Texas vodka.