People generally don’t think of the alcohol industry when they think about sustainable and non-GMO practices. But multi-talented entrepreneur and musician Tina Karras hopes to change that with her revolutionary vodka brand, Tina’s Planet Vodka. Born out of her desire to support her dream of becoming a singer-songwriter, the vodka brand showed Karras that people can have — and achieve — more than one dream.
Karras comes from humble beginnings, having worked in a family-owned restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, before studying at UNC-Chapel Hill while writing music in her free time. She decided to move to Los Angeles with two suitcases and a guitar as the entirety of her possessions, but also brought along an enduring creative spirit that would allow her to persevere in the face of obstacles.
When Karras came to Los Angeles, she worked her way up in the service industry. While practicing and performing her music, she paid the rent by working in various restaurants before getting a position at the world-famous Roxy Theatre. There, she started on the ground floor, eventually becoming the Roxy’s alcohol buyer, allowing her to get her foot in the door of the liquor industry.
Discovering a passion for distilling
Throughout the many tastings and classes she attended while working as an alcohol buyer, Karras came to an important realization. “I couldn’t find an American-made vodka that was made from organic corn and non-GMO ingredients, delicious, smooth, and affordable,” asserts Karras. “I saw this unique opportunity to enter the industry with a product that could revolutionize the way people think about vodka.”
In addition to being made with organic, non-GMO corn, Tina’s Planet Vodka uses corn sourced through regenerative farming. The vodka is distilled up to six times and filtered using their proprietary method involving a renewable coconut shell.
“Our distillation process ensures that the vodka is clean and pure, which gives it a quality that you can feel as much as taste,” Karras says. “The only ingredients in our vodka are purified water and spirit from organic corn, so you know exactly what you’re drinking when buying a bottle of Tina’s Planet Vodka.”
After Karras finished her first self-funded album, she decided to do the same for her vodka company. She took out an SBA loan and loaded up her credit cards, fully committing to her company’s future.
“I knew that the vodka we were creating was something special,” explains Karras. “Many consumers want to buy clean, organic products, and there simply wasn’t a vodka option on the market that offered that.”
Success on multiple fronts
Karras was right to go all-in on her company, as she has found immense success with it ever since. Tina’s Planet Vodka is now distributed by Southern Glazers in California and is available for sale throughout the US on Geekazon.com. Even though many in the food and beverage and entertainment industries were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Karras successfully launched her vodka and shared it with the world.
At the same time, Karras debuted her first album, “Classical Dreams,” on all digital platforms. The 12-song album, a passion project for Karras, combines her talents as a singer-songwriter with her abilities as a classical guitarist. It’s the perfect culmination of the years of hard work she has done to achieve her dream of becoming a musician.
Karras learned an important lesson from her experience: not to limit herself. In her pursuit of one of her dreams of launching a music career, she found another dream that would help her accomplish everything she had set out to do. “I’m excited to finally share my vodka and music with you,” Karras says. “It’s never too late to realize your dreams — they can be bigger than you ever thought!”