Amplifying the Spirits Industry – Food & Beverage Magazine

Rick Nielsen and Andy Roiniotis rock the spirits industry with ROCK’N Vodka

By Debbie Hall

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Legend Cheap Trick has been rocking the music world since 1973. Their guitarist, founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Rick Nielsen, is now disrupting the spirits industry with ROCK’N Vodka. This spirit is a unique, award-winning silver and double gold vodka, 100% non-GMO. ROCK’N Vodka is an original, fun and unique take on a classic spirit. Vodka is usually distilled with corn, wheat or potatoes. Sugar cane vodka is very rare.

Nielsen discovered vodka in England while Cheap Trick was on tour with Queen. “Roger Taylor [drummer for Queen] invited me to go with him to a place called Nikita’s in London that mostly served ice cold vodka, and I liked it, and that’s all I remember.

Nielsen and Andy Roiniotis, vice-president of Bella Rio Consulting, knew each other before joining forces for ROCK’N Vodka. In fact, Cheap Trick was playing a sold-out arena across from Roiniotis’ venue, The District Bar and Grill, on its big opening day in 2012. Andy Roiniotis, Isabelle Roiniotis and Denny Trakas launched the ROCK’ brand. N Vodka under Bella Rio Consulting in 2019. Nielsen became co-owner shortly after ROCK’N Vodka was established.

“I was born and raised in the restaurant industry,” says Roiniotis, “I opened five restaurants in the Illinois market and was often approached to launch new brands. Vodka is the most popular spirit in the United States and I realized it was time to launch our own brand of vodka.We started to really know each other when we were both involved in investment meetings for the Hard Rock Casino in Illinois since we were both investors. ROCK’N Vodka was obvious. There are few vodkas produced from sugar cane in the world. Roiniotis explains: “We use sugar cane plants natural sugars that are quadruple distilled and finished at Rush Creek Distilling in Harvard, Ill. No sugar or molasses is added after the distillation process.

ROCK’N Vodka is currently available in 750mL format. “We want to keep things simple because we want to be more efficient with one product consistently,” says Roiniotis. “The flavor trend in vodkas has gone, and this is a unique product, with such a unique taste.” However, there are plans to expand in the future with mixers to mix with vodka.

The ROCK’N Vodka team is global, especially with Nielsen’s global reach with their music. Followers on their social networks include people from all over the world. ROCK’N Vodka has recently become an internationally distributed brand, adding Canada to its markets. However, the team is methodical with its reach, growth and international distribution to understand all laws and regulations. Currently, it is available online and in retail stores and locations in the United States and Canada.

ROCK’N Vodka also went public with an IPO on StartEngine. “StartEngine told us that our brand and our company attracted more new investors to their website than any other company that launched a campaign on Start Engine,” says Roiniotis. “Their strategic advisor is Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank. This is a great opportunity to join our team at startengine.com/rockn-vodka. »

As for influences, Nielsen’s parents were both opera singers, and his father also conducted symphonies, choirs, sang with evangelist Billy Graham, and recorded over forty solo and group albums. During Nielsen’s pre-teen and teenage years, the family owned a music store in Rockford, Illinois, where Nielsen taught himself to play several instruments, including drums, guitar, and keyboards. “Let’s face it,” says Nielsen, “I’m in the entertainment business. Next year Cheap Trick will still be touring in our 50th year.

Art has also had a big influence on the brand. The artwork featured on the logo and merchandise is painted by rock artist Shannon MacDonald (theshannongallery.com), who has captured music icons such as The Beatles, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, “The Hard Day’s Night Hotel” in Liverpool, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Nielsen’s business portfolio does not stop at spirits. Nielsen is involved with a number of Illinois restaurants as well as other projects. The Stockholm Inn is located in Nielsen’s hometown of Rockford, Illinois, and Piece Pizza, in Bucktown, Chicago, celebrates 21 years in business.

Outside of his extensive work in the food industry, Nielsen is proud of his work on Reverb.com with business partner David Kalt. “After I first met Rick, I reached out to him to find out how we could benefit each other in the Reverb concept. Rick started out as a seed investor, advisor and influencer when we We started Reverb in 2013. We helped grow over $1 billion in annual sales. We sold the company to Etsy in 2019,” Kalt recalls.

“I am a original and I associate myself with unique and quirky things that I love,” adds Nielsen. The Reverb website includes all the instruments and accessories an artist could need and supports youth music programs.

ROCK’N Vodka gives back to the community, recently helping to raise $10,000 to donate to the Rockford Peace Center, a non-profit organization that provides services to victims of interpersonal violence (rockfordfamilypeacecenter.org). They are also involved with Hard Rock casinos across the country and fundraisers for their charities. ROCK’N Vodka was engaged to Bellator MMA lightweight champion Corey Anderson as he battled for the championship title, while raising money for VetsRoll.

ROCK’N Vodka is in partnership with Hard Rock Casinos in the United States. The Hard Rock Casino in Rockford, Illinois, Nielsen’s hometown, has recreated the 1978 Hamer Checkerboard Explorer in its neon-lit sign honoring the legend. Nielsen has played virtually every make and model, but his choice for recording and playing is this Hamer guitar model. Featured on the cover of Food & Beverage magazine, Nielsen’s iconic five neck guitar.

The brand has been approved and is currently sold in restaurants, bars and retail stores in the United States and Canada. ROCK’N Vodka is available to ship within the United States and is available at major retailers like Walmart, Target, Total Wine, Schnucks, Binny’s, Goody Goody, Casey’s, Twins and Specs, extending to Kroger and Mariano’s in the future.

For more information and to find the product, visit rocknvodkas.com and follow on Facebook @rocknvodkas, LinkedIn @rockn-vodka, Instagram @rocknvodkas and Twitter @rocknvodkas.

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