In a world were people have emigrated for various reasons, from leaving a war-torn country, or going in search of better opportunities for you or your family, one thing is certain, no matter where you go and how well you assimilate into your new home/nation, a part of your culture and traditions will always carry notes of your ancestral homeland.
A great example of this is Paul Kozub, founder and owner of V-One Vodka, crafted using 100 per cent spelt grain, distilled five times, both gluten free and non-GMO certified.
The story of V-One begins in 2003, when Mr Kozub invested 6,000 US dollars that he had inherited from his grandfather, a factory worker who made moonshine vodka during Prohibition, into making vodka in the basement of his Massachusetts home.
“Being the first member of my family to return [referring to his first trip in 2004] to our homeland since my great-grandfather in 1960, I knew nothing about Poland. My first day there [in Krakow], I had no special place to go, so I just started walking. At first, it seemed I was making my way through a park, but that park led to a side street, and that side street led to the main square — the most beautiful I’d ever imagined. From the moment I laid eyes on St Mary’s Square, my life was changed forever,” says Mr Kozub.
While initially starting production in his basement in Hadley, Massachusetts, in 2003, production of V-One moved to Poland in 2005, and was produced by private distilleries under strict instructions from Mr Kozub.
“If you want to make sparkling wine, you go to the Champagne region of France. If you want to make high-end vodka, you go to Poland,” he says, adding: “Our passion has always been about crafting the finest farm-to-glass vodka. We were the first producer of vodka made exclusively from organic spelt grain (orkisz in Polish).”
On February 26, Mr Kozub announced the opening of V-One’s own distillery in Kamień, Poland.
“In February 2019, we completed a multi-million-euro purchase and 12,000 square-foot (about 1,114 square-meter) expansion of our very own distillery in Kamień, about two hours southeast of the capital Warsaw and just a few miles from the birthplace of vodka,” explains Mr Kozub.
“We are proud to annouce the purchase and completion of our very own distillery in Poland (located just a few miles from the birthplace of vodka!) This will allow us to produce more clean drinking V-One, sell in more states and countries, more sizes, and add to our line of flavours.”
The V-One distillery comes with history: it has been established in a 130-year-old distillery and for the first time, it will give him complete oversight of the vodka-making process for V-One, better quality control of the craft vodka, and the ability to produce 400 times as much product.
“This is really the next stage of the company,” Mr Kozub said. “We’re doing this so we can really scale up.”
As reported in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “In 2018, V-One produced 10,000 cases of vodka. The new distillery gives him a capacity of four million cases. When fully up and running, 24 employees will work at the Poland plant, in addition to the six full-time and six part-time employees based in Hadley who handle sales and other aspects of the business.”
“My vision is not to be a Hadley vodka, but to be the best vodka in the world. It [referring to the new distillery in Poland] allows us to be where the trends are in the spirit world. People want to know where their product comes from. They don’t want it to be some conglomerate.”
“The V-One story is representative of the American dream,” states Mr Kozub, who admits that he still sees V-One as an extension of his Polish heritage.