A cocktail that gives back — that’s the premise for Danny Lafuente and Dan Maslow’s Simple Vodka, the latest company to enter the social enterprise space. The Idaho-based distillery aims to tackle the issue of food insecurity in the US one bottle at a time, with each sale of its gluten-free potato vodka resulting in the donation of 20 meals through partnerships with local and national hunger relief programs.
Lafuente and Maslow, who met during college, were inspired by companies such as Warby Parker to create a product that generated a positive social impact by empowering consumers to become active philanthropists in the fight against hunger in America. After a night out in Miami drinking Moscow Mules, they realized the answer was right in front of them — and they were drinking it: vodka.
The founders researched organizations working on hunger relief programs across the country, specifically ones carving out solutions to feed those in need while also reducing food waste. During their research, Lafuente and Maslow discovered that while most food is donated and pre-sorted by volunteers, the cost of storing the food and delivering it from fulfillment centers and food banks to the people who need it is high. The pair saw an opportunity to fill this financial gap with their vodka.
Simple’s proprietary four-column fractional distillation process also consumes less energy and generates less waste than any other method, thereby allowing the vodka to be distilled only one time.
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Since its launch in New York, Florida and California in May 2017, Simple has donated more than 29,000 meals to hunger relief programs. But Simple has its sights set on something bigger. By 2020, the company aspires to achieve 30 million meals annually. The company is keeping track of the meals it donates on its website, allowing consumers to see the impact of their purchase.