PHOTO/DENNIS MYERS

Chris DeMay is co-owner and vice president of Tahoe Blue Vodka.

How long has Tahoe Blue been on the market?

We sold our first bottle in March of 2012.

How widely are you stocked.

We are distributed from Tahoe to Reno, Sacramento to the East Bay.

Other than the name, what relates this vodka to Lake Tahoe?

We were founded and headquartered in Tahoe. We donate a portion of our proceeds to organizations that help preserve Tahoe’s beauty. We just recently reached the $10,000 mark for the Tahoe Fund. We do donate to the League to Save Lake Tahoe. …

How is this vodka different from any other vodka?

The main difference is that we’re a blended vodka, a unique blend of grape vodka, corn vodka, and sugar cane vodka. They’re distilled separately and then blended and then distilled two more times in an old alembic-style copper still. And our distiller’s in Mountain View, California. It’s a family-style operation.

What kind of reaction have you gotten in the beverage industry?

It has been beyond positive. We have overcome a lot of obstacles in a brutally competitive vodka market, and we’ve seen sales double in Northern Nevada year after year.

Tell me about how the vodka interacts with other ingredients.

We took the approach to blended vodka similar to old French wines, Bordeaux, which are the king of red wines. They’re actually blends. And so what we did is we chose to do a blend with the grape vodka, which gives it a distinctive flavor; corn vodka gives it structure, which means it mixes well with a lot of ingredients; and then the sugar cane is what gives it a very smooth, round mouthfeel. So when people taste Tahoe Blue Vodka, and you just put a lemon twist in it, it’s delicious. No other, better term. … Our blend lends it self to ginger and lemon. And because there’s no wheat in the vodka, it’s gluten free.

Have any areas particularly favored it?

Tahoe has really grabbed ahold of the brand, not just because it’s Tahoe and we donate but because it is a great product. In Northern California and Nevada, we’re starting to see a lot of reorders and a lot of support from the bars, bartenders. It’s a great option for those who drink Ketel One or Tito’s or Grey Goose. It’s just a great local option with the same quality. In the Sacramento and East Bay areas, we’ve received similar traction, but those markets are still in their infancy.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...