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Golden Eagle Vodka Served in Local Restaurants

There’s a new “ultra-premium” vodka in stock all over Orange County.

Golden Eagle Vodka, based in Lake Forest, has entered several local hotels and restaurants to make itself a top-shelf beverage.

Distribution of vodka began in 2021. It has since reached over 80 locations in California.

The goal is to be nationally distributed, company officials said.

The vodka brand will not be sold in retailers such as Total Wine & More or Bevmo, according to the founders.

The Golden Eagle team instead has reached the likes of Mastro’s in Costa Mesa, Hive & Honey at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum, Javier’s restaurants and the OC Local Taproom in Laguna Niguel. The vodka has also landed in luxury spots such as Pendry Newport Beach hotel and Solstice Seasonal Kitchen and Bar in Irvine.

Montana-Grown

Dakota Blaze Rader co-founded Golden Eagle in 2020. Rader said he had fallen in love with hospitality and spent five years building up enough experience to create his own piece in the food and beverage industry.

After several years of working in production for live events, Rader entered the restaurant space, training to become a sommelier by working at Solstice and a training manager under the parent company of Solstice.

There, he realized he wanted to create something of his own, and Rader turned to a segment of alcohol that he believed hasn’t seen any “ultra-premium” contenders yet.

To differentiate his vodka from the existing brands on the market, he found a grower of hard red spring wheat, also called Dark Northern, in the Big Sky region of Montana, where Rader’s ancestors got their start in the U.S. Popular vodkas are made from winter wheat, corn, rye and potatoes.

That grower, the Droge family, is a short, mountainous drive away from where Rader’s great-great-grandfather, John, emigrated from Holland in 1901. Four years later, the Droge family patriarch, Jacob, a fellow Dutch immigrant, made a home for himself in the nearby Gallatin Valley.

Today, after five generations, the two families collaborated to develop a vodka that’s been highly rated by Tasting Panel Magazine and has received a platinum medal at the LA Spirit Awards.

Creamy Taste

Rader and his team describe the liquor’s tasting notes as sweet cream, vanilla and toasted brioche bread with soft citrus undertones.

The brand “deliberately diverges from the form of neutral vodka,” officials note.

“It’s got a nice, creamy mouthfeel and it lends itself well to creating a craft cocktail,” Sam Holeman, general manager of The Blind Pig, an OC restaurant serving Golden Eagle, told the Business Journal.

“A lot of times vodka doesn’t really stand out” in drinks due to its neutral flavor, he added.

The Blind Pig uses Golden Eagle for its own take on an espresso martini, which features the restaurant’s housemade Vietnamese coffee liquor and cold brew.

“Golden Eagle works perfectly because it’s already so creamy,” Holeman said.

Like with many of the spots that feature Golden Eagle, The Blind Pig was also drawn to the brand due to its local roots.

“We always try to support everything local,” Holeman said.

The Business Journal’s Kaitlin Aquino contributed to this article.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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