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First ever Canadian-made, low-alcohol vodka and gin launches

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Since 18.8’s launch this summer, Fluid Assets Inc. have already won their first product award, a silver medal in the International Spirits Challenge 2020

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With Yom Tovim just a few weeks away, this could be a great time to start thinking about what drinks to buy for celebrations at the festive table. But instead of popping the bubbly with your “bubble,” try a new beverage, one with as much appeal for millennials as for Bubbie. 

Canadian start-up Fluid Assets Inc. has launched the brand, 18.8, which is hand-crafted, small-batch vodka and gin from the Niagara Region, Ontario. Both have “chai” alcohol content — 18 per cent — well, 18.8 per cent to be precise.

Jakob Ripshtein, the CEO of Fluid Assets Inc., says he came to the realization that most people enjoy a nice drink, not to get tipsy, but rather with a desire “to unwind, socialize with friends and family, or make an occasion feel even more special.”

Yet when he and his team looked at the spirits market, they noticed there was “a glaring gap” between traditional spirits with 40 per cent alcohol by volume, and the ready-to-drink options at four to six per cent, “many of which are less flavourful, taste artificial, or are packed with sugar and extra calories.”

It was that reason, in addition to what they saw as a growing movement towards health consciousness, that was the inspiration for creating 18.8.

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Ripshtein was in a unique position to make that happen, as he spent the last two decades learning how the alcohol beverage industry works, through a variety of roles across finance, sales, and strategy, in Canada, the U.S., and the UK.

As the previous president of another spirits company, Diageo Canada, and as the company’s current North American CFO, Ripshtein had the opportunity to work with many of the world’s leading alcohol brands. “These were incredibly rewarding experiences — mostly due to the people I worked with and the relationships I developed along the way. Relatively speaking, it’s a small industry that we’re in. Strong partnerships, good relations, and practical experience can go a long way.”

Owing to this background, he says he has learned to “listen to the needs of customers and provide solutions that fill gaps in the market.”

“What we love most about 18.8 is its versatility,” says Jakob Ripshtein, the CEO of Fluid Assets Inc, the company that makes the drinks | Photo supplied

With that goal in mind, the team tried something new: to act opposite of previous corporate roles, unburdened by “extensive levels of approval and red tape.” It thereby enabled them to be “nimble and drive real innovation that meets consumers’ needs”, making it possible for 18.8 to go from an idea to a real product in the market, in four months.

“It’s exhilarating to put something out there that didn’t exist before; there’s no more rewarding feeling than seeing your own product on shelf.” The vodka has a hint of vanilla, while the gin blends juniper and elderflower with a hint of spice and citrus.

Since 18.8’s launch this summer, Fluid Assets Inc. have already won their first product award, a silver medal in the International Spirits Challenge 2020, “for commitment to quality and innovation in the vodka category.”

The 18.8 Gin Mango Kick and Vodka Fresh Spritz

“What we love most about 18.8 is its versatility. It’s as well-suited for a brunch Caesar as it is for a wedding reception, or yes, a toast on Rosh Hashanah,” Ripshtein says.

“It’s about those events or moments you want to be part of or want to make more special.” 

18.8 Vodka is available at liquor stores in Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. 18.8 Gin is available at LCBO stores across Ontario.

Dave Gordon is the managing editor of TheJ.ca. His work has appeared in more than a hundred media around the world, including all of the Toronto dailies, BBC, Washington Times, and UK Guardian.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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