Published on October 17th, 2016 | by Brittain Thompson0
Artist Vodka: A Global Concept Realized Locally from Oxford
Artist Vodka is a liquor crafted by ingredients gathered from across the world. Owner Jim Bulian, who also owns The Summit and Old Venice Pizza Company sat down with The Local Voice to discuss how he decided to dive into the word of vodka.
“I wanted to make movies,” said Bulian. “So, I started writing screenplays. I cut the cable and wrote screenplays for a year. Finally, I came out of my house with this long hair, a beard, and about 12 screenplays.”
Bulian started shopping his work around trying to raise money. Turns out, there were not a lot of film investors in Mississippi.
Bulian decided to take film financing classes. Once he felt he had a grasp on what he was doing, Bulian reached out to a few actors who showed interest, but could not give the project any attention for three months.
“I don’t have three months, what am I supposed to do for three months,” said Bulian. “So I started painting and then I started selling paintings.”
When Bulian was in California, painting, he ran into a director who also happened to be a painter.
“I ran into the director of Bad Boys,” said Bulian. “I love that cat, Gallo is a great guy.”
After hitting it off, Gallo read one of Bulian’s screenplays and showed interest.
That interest lead to Bulian having dinner with a well-known actor who had expressed interest in working on a screenplay he had. This dinner would be where the idea for Artist Vodka would take root.
The actor offered him a taste of what he told Bulian was the best vodka he’d ever had.
“I gave it a taste,” said Bulian. “I didn’t tell him, but I thought to myself, ‘this isn’t the greatest vodka’. I handed it back to him and said, ‘Yeah, it’s great.’.”
Bulian then looked into the vodka company his friend had offered him a taste of.
“It turns out the owner of the company had been in real estate,” said Bulian. “He didn’t love it, that was just a way to make money and he was making vodka on the side. Then I remembered an article I’d read when I was eighteen that Smirnoff had sold off part of its company to finance films. That’s what I decided to do.”
Bulian set out to find exactly the right ingredients to make the perfect Vodka.
“I tried 75 different vodkas…trying to find the right taste,” said Bulian. “I wanted to make this a worldwide effort. The bottle is from France, the Ferro wheat is from Italy, we use the old world copper kettle method of distilling vodka, paint the bottles in Canada, and it’s made in the United States.”
Artist Vodka uses pure cascade water from Lake Stevens in Washington due to it receiving 200 inches of rain and 200 inches of snowfall.
“I have this amazing water and this amazing wheat,” said Bulian. “How could I go wrong?”
With that, Artist Vodka was made, and has yet to be defeated in any blind taste test.