Meili Vodka co-founders Jason Momoa and Blaine Halvorson.
The Hollywood action star is perhaps best known for playing DC’s mighty superhero of the sea in the Aquaman films, but Jason Momoa has been making waves lately beyond the big and small screen with his other business commitments, including his new, award-winning Meili Vodka company.
Co-founded alongside Momoa’s best friend, Blaine Halvorson, these two gentlemen searched the world together, from Antarctica to the Northwest Passage, in hopes of discovering the purest water sources to make the very best tasting vodka possible. As fate would have it, their greatest find came basically in the backyard of Halvorson’s dad’s Montana home.
Momoa told me, “It’s this beautiful water source that comes off of this limestone shelf – 300 million-year-old aquifer. It looked like Avatar – I had never seen so much life at a water source, where there’s snow everywhere. We come to find what makes it so special is that there’s no sodium in that water. The salt is really what takes away some of the notes that you taste in that from our grains, and it’s high in calcium and sulfur. That’s what gives it that really unique taste.”
Jason Momoa and Blaine Halvorson are co-founders of Meili Vodka.
First, Momoa met Halvorson when he found a pair of shoes that Halvorson had designed. As Momoa got to know Halvorson better, he shared, “I hired him to assist me with all the roles I played, from Frontier to Aquaman. I wore his unique MadeWorn clothing from the start. When I began to direct, be it Carhartt or Harley-Davidson, he helped creatively and in making these worlds a reality. We enjoy working together, constantly trying to impress each other. He is someone I highly respect, and if he appreciates something, I am content with it. That is how we built our friendship – through creation and innovation .”
Following various successful collaborations, Halvorson suggested to Momoa that they should create their own vodka brand. Looking back, he recalls, “Jason asked, ‘Why should we make vodka? We are not even fans of vodka.’ I responded, ‘Exactly!’ We appreciate the allure and storytelling behind moonshine. So, I wanted to bring some of that to vodka, which I felt was lacking. Vodka is often only seen as an ingredient. Especially in the U.S., it is not seen as a spirit. Considering vodka is 60% water, our focus was to find a unique and pure water source to pair with our grains. That’s where it started. We aimed to change people’s perception of vodka.”
Momoa explained to me that unlike traditional vodka, he personally recommends people to try Meili Vodka “warm and served straight,” as its unique Montana water taste makes it a fantastic standalone drink. Moreover, he expressed profound pride in their glass bottles’ sustainable and recycling-friendly design, showing their commitment to the environment.
Momoa made a point, “I’m naturally engaged in a lot of activities and I’m profoundly passionate about our planet. I’m a huge advocate for creating something that’s wholly 100% post-consumer glass. Blaine discovered someone who crafts the best glasses in Mexico. The exciting aspect of this quest is that we are planning to produce them out of Pennsylvania [targeted for Spring 2024], implying fully made in the U.S. The privilege to manufacture the glass locally, for the first time, is phenomenal. Though the endeavor to create such an attractive bottle, recycled and bearing all its subtle specifics is intense, to us it feels just like nurturing our own offspring.”
Halvorson supplemented by stating, “From as long as I can remember, Jason and I have been fascinated by procedures – the way something is designed, who fabricates it, its aesthetic appeal, and the craftsmanship. In my perspective, the process of creation represents a crucial beautiful aspect to it. The journey of recycling this entire glass – melting it in a furnace till it takes shape – is as much rewarding as owning an exclusive bottle. There’s something magical about the authenticity of handmade glass. The piles of glass we recklessly discard, can easily be repurposed for better.”
The venture, Meili Vodka, founded by Jason Momoa and Blaine Halvorson has been making progress.
Since they marked their entry into the saturated and competitive liquor industry earlier this January with the launch of their visionary product, Meili Vodka, the curiosity spikes about what makes Momoa and Halvorson confident that their new invention is a definitive consumer choice that separates them from their contemporaries in the current market.
Halvorson stated, “In a liquor industry that is largely built upon marketing and gimmicks, we stand out by being transparent and sharing the details of our creation process. This approach to vodka is distinctive, as we are treating vodka as a spirit to be savored, not merely consumed.”
Momoa shared, “Despite the trend of celebrity-owned brands, we are not just another name in the crowd. Rather, my approach involves building everything from scratch — from Mananalu, the water company, to the climbing corporation, So iLL. I’m not just a hired face for the company. This endeavor represents the passion and commitment of two best friends who’ve been pursuing this vision for nearly eight years. We did everything ourselves. We’re not just another celebrity-owned brand; we’ve truly earned our stripes performing the hard work ourselves.”
With a retail price that ranges from $19.99 to $29.99, the cost of Meili — which symbolizes the adventurer’s heart, the pure joy of discovery, and the spirit of exploration — is affordable. Throughout October, Momoa and Halvorson traveled across the country to meet fans and autograph bottles of Meili Vodka. Both gentlemen are keen on the possibility of hosting similar events in the future.
During their tour in October 2023, Blaine Halvorson and Jason Momoa, co-founders of Meili Vodka, took photos with their fans across America.
Halvorson made the comment, “The most significant takeaway from this tour, we captured such stunning portraits all through the tour and conversed with so many individuals who came to support us. This is what Meili is all about – Jason and I commenced this on the premise of communal story-telling, gathered around a campfire or dining table. We hope that as Meili expands and more individuals sample it, they will share their personal narratives with us, enriching the concept of ‘where will Meili take you?’ Today, a large amount of interactions happen virtually via social media which is two-dimensional. I feel it’s wonderful to revive those moments where real human face-to-face interaction happens. The incredibly diverse and beautiful crowd that turned up was astounding.”
In conclusion, Momoa said, “It was my sincere wish to acknowledge everyone in a way that shows this was built with all our love and now, it belongs to you. It’s available to everyone. We have put our utmost efforts into this. It is truly stunning and I feel it’s an exceptional venture to own a brand that reflects who you are. This is our initial year. Getting people excited about it, once they taste it, it’s transformative!”