A Piece Of Charleston In Every Bottle

There are countless vodkas to choose from within the growing alcohol and spirits industry. However, none can compare to the original flavor and feel good vibes seamlessly integrated in every sip of Sweet Grass Vodka. Founded in Charleston, South Carolina, it is a vodka with humble beginnings that has carved out a space for itself in a highly competitive market. This is likely a direct result of the way in which Sweet Grass Vodka embodies respect for cultural heritage, commitment to making a high quality product, and passion for fostering meaningful experiences. Each bottle of Sweet Grass Vodka contains a single strand of sweetgrass: purchased from the local Gullah Geechee artisans in the Charleston City Market in bushels, cut to size, washed and sanitized, dried and bottled by hand.

A Taste of Charleston: Featured in Food & Beverage Magazine

Jarrod Swanger, CEO and Owner of Sweet Grass Vodka, is a long-time entrepreneur with an impressive track record for being successful across a wide array of industries. His ability to execute on ideas and take businesses to the next level has allowed Swanger to bring this passion project to life. Sweet Grass Vodka was initially inspired by his wife’s Polish heritage and his love for premium spirits. Starting with a family recipe, Swanger teamed up with local South Carolina potato farmers to distill the finest craft vodka on the market while ensuring Polish tradition remained a foundational part of the final product. 

“We started small and have grown to be a pretty large team. As we continue to grow, we are focused on being strategic,” said Swanger. “It’s not about being everywhere all the time. It’s about being in the right places and sending the right messages that resonate with the customers while building a sense of community that continues to enhance the brand connection.”

Since inception, the mission has been to produce a high-end potato vodka at a price point everybody could afford to enjoy. But Swanger and his wife took it one step further and asked themselves how they could integrate an additional aspect of community into the production of Sweet Grass Vodka. They were committed to making a product that made a positive impact. Taking job creation into consideration, Sweet Grass Vodka is locally bottled and distilled as part of their overall vision to keep everything rooted in Charleston, where the initial product concept came to fruition. Staying true to who they are means expanding in a way that feels genuine to the goals which they have set forth.

Part of this strategic growth involved finding the right business partner to help take Sweet Grass Vodka to the next level. That individual happened to be Jeremy Renner. The renowned actor, dedicated family man, and insightful entrepreneur proved to be the perfect fit for the brand. Renner was introduced to Sweet Grass Vodka through his agency. They knew what he was looking for in a business partnership and how important it was for Renner’s personal values to align with the type of product he wanted to represent. As with dating, both parties needed to have a natural connection and share the same vision.

“It’s not just about the spirit itself, but how the company is run. After my initial conversation with Jarrod, I felt like all the boxes for a meaningful and successful collaboration were being checked,” said Renner. “There were a lot of things that were very congruent with moral coding and family values. These are hot button words for what Sweet Grass Vodka is all about.”

As it turns out, the feelings were completely mutual. Swanger stated that he knew right after getting off the phone with Renner that he was the one. It was clear that Renner resonated with the message Sweet Grass Vodka was trying to convey and wholeheartedly believed in the product. After talking with a few other people it was confirmed that Renner was in fact the right guy to represent the brand. As an added bonus, Renner had prior distilling experience and expressed how much he enjoyed the process.

“I find distilling to be like sculpting or baking…it’s a wonderful science to explore. It’s a very exciting business to be in and I can’t wait to expand upon what Sweet Grass Vodka has already built,” said Renner. “Essentially, the vodka is made from three ingredients — potatoes, water and yeast — so they better be good ones!”

One thing people should know about vodka is that potato vodka is the cleanest. Making vodka with corn or rye is more cost effective, but that wasn’t Swanger’s main concern. He and his wife wanted a product they could really get behind, which meant crafting the highest quality, greatest tasting vodka. And they did just that. Sweet Grass Vodka is a family owned, locally sourced, gluten free product that has earned every single rave review. As seen in Forbes in 2021, Sweet Grass Vodka has been awarded by three Global Masters. Awards for Micro Distillery, Smoothest and Organic, in addition to being awarded a gold medal as the Best Domestic Vodka of 2022 by The Fifty Best.

As previously mentioned, Renner alluded to the fact that the distilling process is like making a sculpture, continuously shaping and working with the different components, including the type of water. So when Swanger initially took his wife’s family recipe and began diving into the vodka making process, they got a crash course from moonshiners and farmers whose refined process included getting water from a creek. This is because the mineral quality of that particular water source pairs perfectly with the spirit. Once Swanger learned that choosing to use purified water actually removes the ingredients that enhance the vodka’s overall flavor palate he made sure Sweet Grass Vodka only uses water from a specific certified spring in South Carolina.

“One of the many things I loved about Sweet Grass Vodka was the authenticity to how the product is made and what it represents. From the carefully curated and locally sourced ingredients to the single strand of sweetgrass that pays homage to South Carolina’s rich history,” said Renner. “Everything is done with purpose, elevating the quality of the experience alongside the high end product itself.”

Sweet Grass is a very clean and smooth vodka. Although it can be enjoyed straight on ice or in a dirty martini, this spirit is typically intended to be mixed with other ingredients or crafted into a cocktail. This undeniable versatility makes it perfect for a day-time, pre-dinner or evening drink. Playing off the vodka’s ability to seamlessly transform for any occasion, Swanger and Renner are starting to look into creating Sweet Grass Vodka canned and pre-made drinks. Given the products adaptability, it’s a natural extension of their brand and an intriguing space to explore. 

As the duo continues to discuss next moves for the product, it has become clear that it’s not so much about selling a spirit but rather, invoking the right feelings. Setting the tone for gratitude, optimism, and simply a sense of overall enjoyment for those who choose to get a taste of Sweet Grass Vodka. Interestingly enough, sweetgrass is more than a nice smelling plant. For many years, it has been burned during spiritual ceremonies to attract good energy. 

“In my mind, Sweet Grass Vodka is a lifestyle. It’s about choosing who you surround yourself with and the types of experience you share with those individuals,” said Renner. “The brand represents friendship and making the most of the limited time we have here on this earth.” 

Swanger and Renner love the idea of taking a grassroots approach to the promotion of the product. Getting in an RV and setting up shop at some of their favorite hangout spots to share a Sweet Grass Vodka inspired cocktail with fellow locals feels like a perfectly suitable marketing strategy. Seeing as marina life and the boating culture naturally lends itself to the overall vibes of the spirit world, they’ve even discussed hopping on a boat and going port to port or town to town inviting others to have the unique Sweet Grass Vodka experience. All paths lead to a more laid back vibe that embraces a mantra for making the most of every moment.

Renner mentioned multiple times how he didn’t consider his partnership with the Sweet Grass Vodka brand to be work. He loves what he’s doing and who he is doing it with. In talking with both Swanger and Renner, it was clear that natural trust and no-nonsense agreement existed between the two of them. 

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“Jarrod and I know that anything we dream is something we can manifest together. It’s such a great feeling,” said Renner. “ I can’t wait to explore the possibilities of this premium spirit with a wonderful ally by my side.”

While some people talk about ideas and simply let them fall to the wayside, Swanger and his wife were dedicated to bringing Sweet Grass Vodka to life. The culmination of being a visionary, having self motivation and teaming up with the right people has helped Swanger throughout his entrepreneurial journey. Ultimately, his unwavering dedication to seeing things through has allowed Sweet Grass Vodka to come this far and opened the door to a partnership with Renner. There’s no telling or limit to where this brand will go next. Now, that’s something worthy of raising a glass. Cheers to dreaming bigger, making good things happen, and sharing those successes with the company we choose to keep.

You can purchase Sweet Grass Vodka online at https://shop.sweetgrassvodka.com/ or find the store closest to you. Sweet Grass Vodka is currently sold at select locations in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, and Illinois.

Of the countless cocktails that can be made with Sweet Grass Vodka, you’ll want to be sure to give this one a try!

Sweet Grass Espresso ‘Tini

1 oz Sweet Grass Vodka

1 oz Coffee

1 oz Tawny Port Wine

.5 oz Simple Syrup

Combine Sweet Grass Vodka, coffee, Tawny Port wine, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to combine and double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.