Pennsylvania's first African American-owned vodka distillery is blazing a trail that's lead its founder to the Lehigh Valley.
Staten Island transplant Russell Scott Fletcher Jr. started as an amateur making wine out of the building his mother owns in Lansford. Through trial and error and true grit he turned grapes into award-winning sparkling wines. He then turned his attention to Mishka Premium Vodka brand inspired by his Ukrainian wife and the multi-billion dollar success story of Tito's Vodka. After his son was born in Lehigh Valley Medical Center, Fletcher set his sights on the Valley to plant his roots for both his family and his growing vodka business. Now with a distillery in Allentown he hopes others can learn from his journey and follow in his footsteps.
"The number of distillers here in America is starting to grow. I hope it widens up as far as within African-American distillers and distillery owners. Obviously, you know, that's all into people wanting to jump in, but I think we provided a great blueprint."
Mishka Premium Vodka is available online and at several Lehigh Valley restaurants including Three Oaks Steakhouse in Easton. Fletcher says you have to try his flagship honey vodka or cranberry vodka. Customers can get a discount if they purchase online at mishkapremiumvodka.com.