Students start vodka label
Student-made robots, famous fashion labels, top-notch actors, and world-class writers are born every now and then from Carnegie Mellon. Nevertheless, senior economic and statistics major Doug Heckmann, senior mechanical engineering major Casey Parzych, and senior information systems and business administration double major Anthony Lorubbio still managed to surprise the community by developing their own vodka label, Fortis.
The three have been working on this project since the fall of their junior year. Seeing how well they work together, one would have thought that they have been friends for a long time. Yet, in fact, they did not meet until their entrepreneur class that semester. As a result of their different majors, Heckmann, Parzych, and Lorubbio have knowledge and expertise in all different areas, making them a diverse and extremely strong team.
Fortis' delicately sweet taste differentiates it from other brands, a result of its unique distilling process with fair-trade, organic sugar cane. The idea was bred while the team was researching possible grains to make vodka; apparently, the team unanimously chose sugar cane due to its scrumptiousness and individuality.
While they were researching filtering methods, the team also decided to invest in a carbon filter process. "The product that resulted was some of the smoothest vodka we'd ever tasted," Lorubbio said.
Heckmann, who is in charge of sales and finances, decided to target customers who enjoy a locally produced hand-crafted spirit. The label is looking to launch its Synthe Absinthe next month during Carnival weekend.
One of the biggest lessons the team has come to learn is time management, both in terms of staying on top of the school's very heavy workload and maintaining the business' standards. Nights seem to be growing longer and longer: "We did not name our company 'Midnight Madness Distilling' for no reason," Parzych said.
The future is a great unknown for many graduating seniors, but the trio is committed to continually building this company and developing not just Fortis, but all of their brands e.g. Synth. While there are many renowned competitors out there, Heckmann, Parzych, and Lorubbio know that they are different and really believe in their own products, which they hope will lead to future success.