Great things come from great places. That’s the mantra Greg Nichols used when marrying his Nantucket homeland with the Rocky Mountains to make Lucky Dog Vodka. Distilled right outside Idaho’s Sun Valley by the best “lab-coat-wearing vodka nuts,” Lucky Dog is very much a farm-to-bottle product. From harvesting the local Idaho winter wheat to tapping the Snake River Aquifer for runoff from the Rockies, everything happens within 30 miles of the distillery.
Except for the name—that originated on the rocky shores of the East Coast. After years with the U.S. Freestyle team, Nichols traded in his skis for a surfboard. He and his buddies came up with the term “lucky dog” to describe that fortunate bastard who’s always in the perfect spot when the wave breaks. It seemed fitting for vodka, too.
Nichols embodies the same adventurous spirit that’s in his brand. After 25 years of running a Nantucket architecture firm, his business got stale. “It was time for a second act,” he decided. Though Nichols knew nothing about distilling, he figured his lifelong dream to make vodka was worth a try. He did something right; the vodka won a gold medal at the 2011 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition before even hitting stores last spring. Now it’s all over the East Coast and spreading west. The key to Lucky Dog’s success: “We’re not trying to take vodka too seriously like all the other brands; we just want to have fun with it,” says Nichols. Or maybe he just got lucky. –Madison Kahn