Colorado Cool Stuff: Jokä Vodka


After a career in real estate development, native New Yorker Joe Nedlin relocated to Aspen in 2004 and wanted to create a self-sustaining business that would give its profits to American veterans. Inspired by Paul Newman’s business model, he started with high-end golf clubs and skin care, but sales dropped with the onset of the recession, so he moved into a more recession-proof category: alcohol.


More specifically, Jokä Vodka, named for his “Joker” nickname when he served in the Army in the 1960. Jokä is distilled from sweet corn in Bend, Ore., and filtered through lava and charcoal five times. “That’s what gives it the flavor,” Nedlin says. “That and the quality of the water.”

Priced at the low end of the premium category, Jokä gives all profits — “$3 a bottle, minimum,” Nedlin says — to veterans via the Blue Star Mothers chapter in Grand Junction. “The whole thing is designed to help veterans. $25 to $35 retail.

Made by Aspen Black Diamond LLC, Aspen, (970) 618-0062, Available at numerous bars and liquor stores throughout Colorado.

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