A team of Manhattan Beach residents is bringing a premium brand of vodka from the Austrian Alps to the South Bay.
The owners of NEFT vodka serve as the unadulterated vodka’s operations and sales team. The spirit is available at a wide array of locations throughout the South Bay and greater Los Angeles.
NEFT was founded in Austria in 2012. NEFT, which means oil in Russian, launched here in 2017.
The vodka soon received accolades at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, winning the highly prestigious Double Gold Award and the coveted Best in Class Award out of 183 vodka brand entrants. NEFT was the sole recipient of Best Vodka in its category.
The vodka, which comes in its own iconic oil barrel packaging, is created using pure, Austrian spring water and four European rye grains.
NEFT CEO and Manhattan Beach resident Jeff Mahony said the idea for the company came about because of the principals’ shared enjoyment of vodka since their college days, when the group of friends met as UCLA fraternity brothers.
"Most vodka tastes pretty similar in nature, and there’s nothing premium there," said Mahony. "You look at tequila or Scotch and you see premium products, but you look at the vodka cases, and there’s only a $50 Grey Goose."
So, Mahony said, he and his partners wanted to bring something purer to the U.S., without added sugar.
NEFT is priced at 750ml for $36.99, and $44.99 for one liter.
According to Mahony, “As far as our flavor profile, it’s a clean vodka, smooth, smoky, with a clean finish. Most vodkas use sugar to clean up the end, but that is what creates a hangover. Instead of that, we use a heavier Austrian water.”
Because of its pure ingredients, Mahony said, NEFT vodka is really best enjoyed on the rocks.
"It’s that smooth,” he said.
As to the brand’s unique oil-barrel black and white packaging, he notes “The interesting part is that the packaging keeps the alcohol cold for many hours, so it is one of the few spirits that can be at the pool or outdoors; stay cool, and be a part of the active lifestyle that the South Bay enjoys.”
Along with the awards received at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the brand has also received recognition from The Tasting Panel, which gave NEFT five out of five “kisses” as their rating.
Currently, NEFT can be found at more than 20 local purveyors such as the Shade Hotel, Strand House, Terranea, Abigaile’s, and the Manhattan Country Club, among other venues; it’s also available at retailers such as Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres.
“We are planning to expand nationally, and are already in five other states,” Mahony said. “However, we are really looking to saturate the LA area first. NEFT is shaping itself as a for-cause brand.”
With that in mind, NEFT has embraced Walk with Sally, Torrance Memorial Hospital, and Malibu Dana among other charitable organizations.
“We are really interested in supporting children’s charities, that’s very near and dear to our hearts individually," said Mahony.
"We will typically offer our brand for free so that charitable organizations can sell it to patrons to bring in more funds, as well as making direct donations, and bringing these organizations along with us where we have a larger geographical presence.”
For more information on NEFT, visit http://www.neftvodka.com/neftvodka/en/