New vodka aims to support at-risk youth

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids entrepreneur has launched a new line of Michigan-made vodka and promises to donate some of the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Clubs in West Michigan.

Daryl Reece said his latest business venture came from something that was more about fun than making money — annual gatherings in the basement of his Grand Rapids home that he aptly called “Stock Da Bar” parties.

“Where everybody would bring their favorite spirit and we would have a good time,” Reece explained.

Reece started talking about his parties online and posted video reviews of locally-make spirits.

That’s when his latest venture came to him out of the blue.

“One of the co-owners of MichiGrain Distillery got in touch with me and said, ‘Would you like to come out with your own vodka?’ and my first response to him was like, ‘Nobody that I know does that,’ And he said ‘Well, why wouldn’t you?,’” Reece said.

After consulting with his family, Reece agreed and worked with MichiGrain to develop Stock Da Bar Vodka.

“If you taste it, it will be the best that you’ve ever tasted,” Reece said. “The goodness from my heart is poured into this and it’s going to come out of this bottle.”

The “goodness” Reece is referencing is less about the vodka and more about those he hopes his product will support. 

A portion of the sale of each bottle of Stock Da Bar vodka will go to the Boys and Girls Clubs in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor, each of the cities Reece has lived in over the years. It wasn’t a random decision.

“My mom being a single mother, working all the time, that’s what kept me out of trouble was going to the Boys and Girls Club,” Reece said. “It changed my life. I know I would’ve been in a different situation if I wouldn’t have been in the Boys and Girls Club.”

Reece said he recognizes the problems alcohol has caused but said his effort is one of the ways the industry can have a positive impact.

Patrick Placzkowski, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids said he wasn’t aware of Reece’s effort but welcomes the support.

“That is absolutely a great thing. Grand Rapids and West Michigan has this burgeoning restaurant and bar thing,” Placzkowski said, adding that he appreciates “having all of our community share in the wealth that’s growing here in West Michigan.”  

The Stock Da Bar label launched in December and is already available in Grand Rapids stores. It can be picked up at Smitty’s Specialty Beverage in Grand Rapids and is being served at The Pyramid Scheme downtown.

Launching the label required Reece to purchase 1200 bottles of Stock Da Bar Vodka. He says he only has about 120 bottles left.

“The reception has been amazing,” Reece said. “What I’ve learned along the way is it’s a lot of good people out here.”