Cover Story - April 2006

Sovereign Spirit

By: Deborah Parker Wong

“Every Inch a King” – William Shakespeare

In pre-Communist Poland, the Kröl family was considered a dynasty. Translated as “King,” KRÖL vodka was considered royalty in its mother country for its distinguished, hand-crafted lineage.

First generation American, Philip Kröl remembers his first visit to Poland with his mother when he was a child. Grandmother Kröl would share stories of her father and grandfather, and the distillery that produced the guarded recipe that time left behind.
Years later, Philip chose a career in entertainment, attending film school and working for Sony and Lion’s Gate. However, never forgetting his roots, and through many more journeys to Poland, he found himself increasingly drawn to the family’s legacy of producing a spirit sovereign in its class.

Family Plan
Although Philip Kröl maintained to keep his ties with the entertainment industry, his plan to immerse himself is something he well understood and that was in his blood, led him on the quest to revive the secret family recipe.
“The family vodka production had been in hiatus since before World War II,” explains Kröl, referring to the Nazi invasion of Poland and the resulting brutal destruction of kinsmen.
Upon his return to Poland, Kröl began to research the possibilities, talking and meeting with chemists and distillery owners. “I quit my job and started full force in October 2004.”
For a month, Philip stayed in Warsaw, where he worked side by side with a chemist to come up with the right taste and character for the vodka while also updating the production technology. It was the perfect combination of tradition and modern expertise. A state-of-the-art filtration system and quadruple distillation now allows the elimination of impurities, and thus captures the nuances of the vodka’s harmonic flavors and smooth palate.
Kröl vodka has sailed to the shores of the U.S., thanks to Philip Kröl, who with a spirits know-how, a keen business sense and the loving support of his parents, has successfully blended the old with the new. “I did it for our current family and as homage to our past,” he said.
Made in an historic Polish distillery that dates back to the 17th Century, the first bottles of Kröl  came off the line just one year after Philip Kröl first conceived the idea.
“Our strategy is not to be everywhere, but in the right places,” offered Kröl, who, with his Director of Marketing, Paul Martinez, is introducing Kröl to California accounts that are well placed matches for a brand…fit for a King.

Kröl Rules!
Marketing a new brand in this prolific period for spirits is indeed a challenge. But, matched with the art of hand selling a small-batch family creation and the clever approach of its introduction to the trade and consumer, Kröl is destined to have a long and prosperous reign.
Long Live the Kröl!
Making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival’s SELF Ultimate Luxury Lounge, Kröl has quickly won the favor of celebrities who pose here with the brand:

Kröl’s Queen of Mixology

With a company name as original as “Liquid Architecture,” Kim Haasurud is the creative juice behind mastering deliciously appealing cocktails with Kröl as their royal foundation.
Haasarud considers herself first and foremost a chef. And indeed, she conceives signature Kröl cocktails much as Wolfgang Puck would create a specialty dish, taking inspiration from market-fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Like many of her peers, Haasarud bartended her way through college. But what was just a job for most, sparked an enduring passion for building great cocktails, one that Haasarud still longed to indulge after graduation and going to work in film and television. She found her opportunity in many industry parties she attended.
“The drinks and the bars were always the same and always boring,” says Haasarud. “I knew if I could get behind the bar, I could create exceptional cocktails that would add a new dimension to each event.”
And the resulting reverie became reality. Haasarud’s company, Liquid Architecture was born.
Her company - and her talents – are based upon enhancing the cocktail experience. “I incorporate fresh juices and high quality ingredients: the best elements for a great drink.” In Kröl, Haasarud found the perfect foundation for the premise on which her fabulous concoctions stand. “Kröl is very clean, and quite flavorful, made from untreated rye. It is slightly sweet on the palate, just enough to mix beautifully with fresh juices.”
And mix she does.
Her signature Anti-Ox Pom Cherry Crush Martini made with fresh fruit juices and Kröl, wowed them – and kept up the energy - at Sundance.
At a fundraiser for Katrina victims, Haasurud brilliantly tied in the New Orleans theme for the drink of choice. She took her inspiration from the classic Sazerac, but replaced whiskey with the new “King” of Poland, Kröl Vodka, to design the “Big Easy”, adding Cognac, fresh squeezed navel oranges, bitters and a maraschino liqueur.

The Anti Ox Pom Cherry Crush
Kim Haasarud harnesses the healthy antioxidants of pomegranate juice in this delicious cocktail:
Kröl Vodka
Freshly hand-squeezed orange juice
POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Muddled cherries

Country of Origin:  Poland
Made from 100% Late Harvest Rye
Kröl translates to “King”
Distilled four times, using pure Polish mountain spring water
Originally from a family recipe produced in the 19th Century
Suggested retail price: $30
Tasting notes: on the nose, creamy buttered caramel. Notes of black tea, with underlying mocha nuances.
On the palate, a rich mouth-coating quality, deliriously smooth. Rye and caraway lifts with chocolate undertones, weaving through a fresh citrus finish.

Kröl is being introduced to California accounts that are well placed matches for a brand…fit for a King.


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