The trio of Raleigh businessmen behind North Carolina’s newest craft distillery bonded first over entrepreneurship, then coffee, then martinis.

And it was the latter that prompted the business they all left jobs to run full-time earlier this year. Launching this summer in ABC stores across North Carolina is Social House Vodka, a brand inspired by their friendship, opportunity in the craft distilling industry and of course, an affinity for vodka.

By year’s end, a plant in Kinston will be prepped to distill and ship up to 30,000 cases of vodka in 2018, making Social House the largest vodka maker of the dozen or so located in North Carolina, the founders say. $1.7 million of a planned $4 million investment round is already in the bank helping make it happen.

But the larger goal is to expand Social House to other states, and through a parent company called Social Beverage Co., to eventually add other liquors. The men believe they can build a brand that contributes to the growth of the craft distilling industry, which has already reached 3 percent marketshare in the U.S. There are 38 members of the Distillers Association of North Carolina, up from just six in 2011.

“We enjoy a good martini,” says G Patel, a Social House managing partner who also owns Eschelon Experiences restaurant group. “We saw distilleries taking the same path as breweries, and room for growth there.”

There’s much more to the story. Read it all at:

Raleigh’s Social House Vodka Raises $1.7M to Create National Brand