Bou’Jae II The New Black Owned Gluten Free Vodka

Ultra Premium, Health Conscious & Smooth Plus: Get To Know Founder & CEO Stephania Lauger!
Everyone loves a good cocktail and often discuss the hierarchy of their favorite brands. What most people don’t know is that a few parent companies control the industry. Ciroc for example is owned by Diageo who also owns Ketel One (Diddy is just a paid brand ambassador).  Can’t decide between Moet & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot? Both champagne brands are owned by LVMH (the H is for Hennessy).  This control makes it nearly impossible for an independent brand to compete.
We were delighted when we heard about the launch of Bou’Jae. A gluten free vodka owned by a Black female entrepreneur Stephania Lauger, we are certainly here for that! Contributor and fellow vodka lover, Erika Hardison sat down with Stephania to talk about her journey and what goals she is currently working towards.

Bou’Jae founder and CEO, Stephania Lauger


EH: What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced with having your own spirit brand?
SL: Some of the difficulties I’ve faced have been being a non-celebrity woman in the industry. People tend to flock to celebrities and their trends. So it’s hard to get recognition, or to be in this spirit industry with no celebrity affiliation.

EH. How involved are you with the process? Do you pick your own distillery? How long did it take you to finalize your product?
SL: I’m very involved with the process along with Bou’Jaes’ Vice President Nisha Ray, who’s overseeing our NJ/NY market. I personally picked my own distillery that’s based out of Riveria Beach, Florida. It was important to me that I kept my product made in the USA since companies tend to outsource a lot of their products, production and workers. It took me along with the distillery about 10 months to a year to get licensing and federal approval for the full distillation of Bou’Jae.

EH: What goal are you currently working towards?
SL: Right now I’m working to get distribution in some of the controlled states. There are 17 controlled states in the U.S. including my own, North Carolina.  Any state that is considered controlled has to get approval by the state, which takes a while. You also have to have representation or a broker in the state, which is even harder to obtain. A lot of brokers are hesitant to work with an unknown brand or they feel like your product may not market or profit well.

EH: Describe your spirit in 3 words.
SL: Ultra Premium, health conscious and smooth.

EH: What are some of the most rewarding moments you can recall after someone has tried Bou’Jae?
SL: I think some of the most rewarding moments were people literally asking me can they invest after trying it. About 90% of the time after tasting it, people say it’s smooth and they didn’t expect it to taste that smooth.

This interview was contributed by Erika Hardison. Erika is Editor and Founder of Fabulize Magazine and a contributor for Huffington Post and The Local New York Times. Follow her via Instagram @FabulizeMag 
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