An Extraordinary Vodka with a Story in Every Sip

As the vodka market has continued to grow, its reputation as a flavorless spirit intended for mixing has remained the same. Typically, the taste is described as bitter or briny in character, making Meili even more of an anomaly. Meili, pronounced MAY-lee, is guaranteed to change the way people perceive vodka. Made to be enjoyed neat, the quality and purity of the ingredients used produce an unexpected sweetness. Inspired by the storytelling aspect and lore behind moonshine, longtime friends Jason Momoa and Blaine Halvorson set out on a journey to create a vodka with its own narrative that they could genuinely enjoy drinking.

“In the past 5 to 10 years, tequila and whiskey have expanded and we wanted to put vodka into that category of sipping alcohol,” said Halvorson. “We saw it as a great opportunity to disrupt a stagnant market.”

The fact that vodka is 60 percent water was also a significant factor in their decision to forego making a different type of spirit. Momoa and Halvorson liked the challenge and complexity of not being able to hide behind the ingredients because when it comes to vodka — water is everything. Long before Momoa got into filmography and landed the role of Aquaman, he was an advocate for taking care of the environment and keeping the oceans clean. This made it all the more meaningful that water is the foundation upon which Meili was built.

Searching for the source.

Partnering with one of the world’s top expedition leaders, Momoa and Halvorson traveled the globe from Antarctica to Greenland to Chile, studying countless iconic water sources to determine what made them unique. They worked through thousands of iterations, testing the minerality and discovering how it interacted with their homegrown grains. Amidst their search for this H20 unicorn, Halvorson’s father called to tell them he had discovered an amazing body of water not far from their home in Montana. He was adamant it was really something special and insisted they come out to see it for themselves. So, that’s exactly what the two friends did. 

It was 15 degrees below zero the day Momoa and Halvorson arrived and yet the water wasn’t frozen. It flowed freely and appeared breathtakingly pure — like something straight out of Avatar. They found themselves staring at this 300 million year old aquaphor with a temperature that remains 52 degrees year round. At one point, it leads to a limestone shelf that houses a small pool where the water comes to the surface. After doing more research, Momoa and Halvorson realized there are only two water sources in North America that the EPA allows to be consumed without any treatment or testing and this aquaphor was one of them. Its mineral composition was completely unique. It was higher in calcium and sulfur compared to most of the waters they had seen and the sodium level (or non-existence of it) put this water on a totally different spectrum. 

“It’s the only water source we found without sodium and after proofing it with our grains, we knew we had the magic,” said Halvorson. “The combination of this salt-free water with our single distillation process lets all of the sugars from our locally sourced ingredients come through, resulting in a beautiful sweet note at the end of every sip — something we couldn’t achieve with any of the alternative water sources.”

Having racked up hundreds of thousands of miles flying to countless destinations, it felt both ironic and serendipitous that what they had been looking for all along was a short hike away from the place where Blaine grew up. It’s extremely rare to have water that doesn’t require any filtration. Momoa and Halvorson are extremely grateful they were able to locate this ideal water source that acts as the foundation of Meili.

Equal parts passion and purpose.

The journey to create the best vodka on the planet began seven years ago. Much of the beauty in Meili lies in the brand voice and the story Momoa and Halvorson are aiming to tell. The two have always shared an obsession with the process and craftsmanship of making things; the ethos behind it all. Delving into how something is constructed and what makes it unique brings out the best in both of them. While Halvorson tends to be the behind-the-scenes builder and mad scientist, Momoa thrives at putting experiences into words in a way that resonates and inspires.

“We’re two creators passionate about art, storytelling, epic adventures, and a deep love and respect for our planet,” stated Momoa. “Meili seamlessly combines all of these elements to produce a vodka that tastes great!”

Meili is a result of a vision for a better vodka, a conviction to never settle, and an unbreakable brotherly bond.  It is a one of a kind spirit that tells a narrative of the importance of water while inviting others to delight in its flavor palate while telling their own tales. From day one, Momoa and Halvorson took their time and made sure everything was done the way they had initially intended. Without a big corporation or investors backing them up, they were like artists with a completely blank slate embracing every layer of learning and creating together.

As two friends who made a lot of stuff and shared in countless adventures over the course of our lives, Jason and I weren’t going to bring Meili to light until it was exactly the way we wanted it,” said Halvorson. “A major part of our vision always included delivering a vodka with superior taste and sustainable packaging — and that’s exactly what we accomplished.”

In addition to the pleasing flavor, Meili’s packaging is just as impressive. Made from 100% recycled glass, no two bottles are alike. Ranging in all shades of green and presenting a variety of textures, they are more than a vessel for holding vodka — they are truly works of art. In fact, the initial mold for the first Meili bottle was carved out of the trunk of a cherry tree. And every bottle produced since then has been made with the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

On a mission to change the way people perceive vodka, Meili is best enjoyed neat as this allows the quality and purity of the ingredients used to truly shine. And without being too preachy, it is a spirit that leaves a small ecological footprint in the hopes of organically fostering an environmental consciousness paired with a focus of valuing experiences over things. Whether it’s sipping on a glass of Meili vodka, seeking more eco-friendly habits or scaling a mountain; the three concepts are intertwined. 

You don’t know what you’re missing.

For those who haven’t tried Meili, it is not your typical vodka! This standalone spirit is so easy and delightful to drink — no rubbing alcohol flavor or burn. Additionally, it is a certified gluten-free spirit without any unwanted additives and all the desired taste. Momoa and Halvorson gladly invite you to put Meili to the test as it continues pleasantly surprising palates one sip at a time.

The blind tasting results speak for themselves. Meili has been submitted to a number of competitions worldwide and has done extremely well. It won triple gold in London, two golds in New York, one gold in Chicago, and received two CENTURY 100 point scores at the PR%F Awards in Las Vegas! From the ingredients all the way to the bottle, Meili is revolutionizing vodka.

“I am so proud and grateful to have been able to create Meili with Jason, knowing we never compromised or cut corners,” said Halvorson. “This was not a race. It was a passion. And to be able to take a sip of the final product and know we stayed true to ourselves and our initial intent is incredible.”

“I’m really thankful to be on the journey with my best friend,” added Momoa. “It’s taken us seven years to develop and create Meili. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished in our first year and excited for what’s to come.”

In an effort to give others the opportunity to discover Meili, the vodka has successfully launched on a global scale. Not surprisingly, it has been extremely well received and  continues to sell out in Jamaica where they endearingly refer to it as “white scotch.” Although it was made to be a sipping alcohol, Meili possesses the innate ability to elevate any mixed drink and react beautifully with a wide array of foods. Any way you pour it, you can’t go wrong.

Meili is a representation of the purity of discovery and the spirit of exploration. Every ingredient is purveyed with the utmost quality and character in mind. Handcrafted by friends and made to be shared, the inception of this vodka was inspired by the journey along with those met along the way. The only question left to ask is: Where will Meili take you?

Learn more about the Meili story and places to purchase this product at

Momoa and Halvorson have been traveling across the United States on their Meili tour. If you happen to be in New York, Florida or Pennsylvania, keep an eye out for them in January. They love having the chance to meet with Meili fans, swapping stories and sharing experiences.