Maryland native Terrence Wheeler is the founder & CEO of the LumierVodka brand which is currently on trend & in step with the recent resurgence of Vodka’s overall popularity. The surge in sales has particularly come from millennials, and this increase may also be in part to a vaster array of flavor ranges. Taking note of all these factors Terrence decided to throw his hat in the ring & thus his company was born in January 2017. Even in a crowded & competitive field, he knew he could carve out a name for himself & create a niche through his own distinct flavoring & packaging. By the time you finish reading this, I’m sure you will agree with me that his name & exquisite brand is sure to be on the lips of many more fans & supporters very soon.
To what do you accredit Vodka’s current rise in popularity?
I accredit the resurgence of the classic cocktail movement. Flavored vodkas are getting pushed out and consumers are more interested in simple well-crafted cocktails in which they can taste the uniqueness of the base spirit. Cocktails such as Martinis, Moscow Mules, and spritzers are paving the way for premiumization in the vodka category.
What drew your attention to vodka instead of perhaps the more obvious choice such as wine or beer?
The Vodka category drew my interest because I noticed that it was lacking creativity. The same type of flavors, signature stories, and packaging were continuously being saturated in the segment. I wanted to introduce a new fresh way of packaging, aroma, taste, and representation in the Vodka segment. The originating story of LumiereVodka is unusual, the packaging is distinct, and our aroma & taste are specific.
Why did you decide to create a light brand of vodka and what is the process of production that makes it lighter?
Lumiere in our brand name stands for “Light Vodka”. It stands for the fluorescence of the bottle and the freshness of the liquid. We use fresh ingredients that adhere to strict agricultural methods. Our method of micro-distillation preserves the character of the originating ingredients without stripping their taste & character from the resulting distillate. Careful & thoughtful man hours at the production still produce LumiereVodka.
What makes Maryland’s distilling process unique?
Maryland has a rich history of distilling heritage, especially in producing Rye Whiskeys. LumiereVodka is produced in Holland at Dutch Craft Distillery. Dutch distilling heritage is also rich and predicated upon producing flavorful & aromatic spirits. Genever & Gin originated from Dutch distillers, and this paved the way for their current distilling styles.
Your premier flavor contains notes of vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch how long did it take to create & are there any other flavors in the works?
LumiereVodka has a natural aroma of vanilla and tasting notes of caramel, butterscotch, and fresh pastry. It took me four years to develop the trade secret recipe of malted barley & panela in alliance with LumierVodka Master Distiller, Roelof Schipperus. There are no flavors in the works currently, but we are interested in pursuing a reserve line of LumiereVodka.
Are there any plans for expansion ahead?
We are currently in 7 on-premises accounts or bars/ restaurants. We would like to place in more craft cocktail bars & fine dining accounts.
What are your future goals? Any entrepreneurial words of advice or wisdom you’d like to offer our readers?
My future goals are to grow LumiereVodka into a nationally respected brand. I am also interested in pursuing additional ventures under the LumiereVodka umbrella. My biggest words of advice to anyone reading this article would be that sometimes all the rules are meant to be broken, just don’t be afraid to accept the challenge when you start breaking them.
Terrence has been able to successfully navigate & combat the challenges he has faced in the space as a young African American male, who has often faced prejudices solely on the bases of his age & race before even presenting his product demos. He has kept focus by simply being persistent, and resilient, and by keeping himself overly informed on the industry, to be able to articulate how well LumiereVodka fits into its brand positioning. His knowledge, sophistication & wit will surely continue to take him to even more markets & further heights in the future. The company is already looking into becoming more widely available by working to expand into E-commerce platforms such as Drizly. He suggests that if consumers would like to find where the brand is sold, they can visit lumierevodka.com and click “Find LUV” to access the store finder. With the holiday season upon us, it just may be the perfect time to discover this carefully crafted upscale brand. I know that great things are truly on the horizon for this man that exemplifies black excellence at its finest.