This story isn’t the one about the celebrities or bored professionals who quit their corporate jobs for a laid-back lifestyle in alcoholic beverages. It’s an underdog adventure created by two friends tired of massive spirits firms dictating that we pour over-priced spirits they independently deemed “exclusive” or re-branded versions of what our parents drank. We were lucky enough to encounter an industry expert who could help us realize our dreams of changing the conversation about how our social experiences should be and invite you to join the experience! The world doesn’t need another boring craft vodka! — Patrick and Matt
We’re Just Here to Have Fun…
Unattainable celebrity lifestyles, imported excess, glitzy gimmicks, & conventional crafts: Patrick Shorb was disenchanted by the dominant brands ignoring his generation with stale and irrelevant products molded for tycoons or boutique crafts trying to piggyback Tito. His worst experience was meeting another vodka owner at a trade show who laughed “You know the only difference between your vodka and mine is that I put it in a fancy bottle and charge twice as much.”
Immersing himself in spirits research, he read books on distilling, visited numerous distilleries, explored online, and pursued the idea with longtime friend and Penn State University roommate Matt Glaser. Realizing that high quality vodka production is much easier than it was portrayed, a hobby became a passion, and soon they had a brand concept set to defy the status quo of spirits.
…Let’s Show Them How We HOLLA
HOLLA: You either understand it or you don’t.
To pour life into this super-social vodka idea, Patrick worked to perfect the trademark logo and design its eye-catching bottle artwork.
Now, to produce some vodka legally…easier said than done.
Despite a few early setbacks with product development and liquor industry regulations, the two were determined to overcome the obstacles. While caddying for spare cash at country clubs on Philadelphia’s Main Line one summer, Matt lucked in to learning about a world-renowned spirits industry veteran working in the region: Riannon Walsh. The three built a relationship together and the rest is history.
It’s all About Our People…
From its beginnings, HOLLA Vodka has always been about uniting spirits over social experiences—and rallying the team around the brand concept proved no exception. Together, Patrick, Matt, and Riannon can source, blend, infuse, and bottle premium distilled spirits they’re proud to put up against any of the industry’s best. HOLLA has received recognition with its gold medal in the 2017 Las Vegas Global Spirits Competition and silver medal in the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The prestigious 2018 F. Paul Pacult Ultimate Spirits Challenge also awarded HOLLA 93 points, with accolades “excellent, highly recommended” and as a “great value.” The founders encourage you to conduct blind taste tests with your friends! It’s addictive!
As founder of the Whiskies of the World Expo in San Francisco, Riannon oversees all production and quality control for HOLLA’s products. Since she only associates herself with high-quality spirits, HOLLA fans can be assured that what goes into the bottles is exceptional. With her extensive spirits background, the possibilities for future infusions or spirit extensions are nearly endless.
…and the Products…
To remain competitive, HOLLA sources its base distillate from larger distilleries and blends or infuses it with natural ingredients and uses proprietary filtration systems to satisfy its high expectations. They’re proud to reveal this common trade practice that many brands fail to disclose and urge you to do your research to learn, trust, and love whatever spirit you chose to enjoy!
Today, HOLLA has traveled cross-country, adding fans from Maine to California! At HOLLA Spirits, they’ll continue to give glimpses of the processes and journey here and on social media.
So Let’s HOLLA!
Everyone at HOLLA is lucky to have met so many wonderful people during its short time in spirits, and thanks all those who have guided them. HOLLA is meant to be fun, different, and uniting. Let’s simply have fun and drink to good times with friends! Please enjoy responsibly, and share your special moments using #howyouholla!
Patrick Shorb, President & Founder
With a background in construction and government contracting, Patrick couldn’t ignore a desire to reimagine vodka for a new era. This hobby evolved into a passion for spirits and all things defying the status quo.
He set out to create an award-winning vodka that offers a new take on the most versatile spirit ever, by bringing together a team that refuses to accept mediocrity. When he’s all in, Patrick heads HOLLA’s business and product development, but when out for the evening—like HOLLA itself—he’s just here to have fun.
Fun Fact: Ever the unconventionalist, Patrick created “HOLLA for Your Heroes” as a way to cut through the extravagance of past spirits and demonstrate HOLLA’s commitment to supporting charitable causes. He has participated in multiple clinical trials to advance cutting edge therapies for rare genetic diseases and enjoys advocating on behalf of the patient community. Diagnosed at a young age with a progressive life-threatening condition, he considered this experience an opportunity live aggressively and leave nothing behind. HOLLA captures this vision to keep everything in perspective!
Matt Glaser, Director of Operations & Co-Founder
Lifelong friend of Patrick and fellow PSU alum, Matt put his post-college ambitions to work on several startups with other entrepreneurial groups while caddying at exclusive country clubs along Philadelphia’s Main Line. You might say that he carried the best bag of his life when he found out about a world-renowned spirits veteran (aka Riannon Walsh) while on the course and…well…the rest is HOLLA.
Fun Fact: With a preference to remain behind the scenes, Matt instills a spirit of camaraderie around spirits, but he personally doesn’t indulge in them.
Riannon Walsh, Director of Artisan Spirits
With more than 25 years of experience in the whiskey industry, Riannon Walsh is the nose of HOLLA Spirits. As the company’s chief mentor, Riannon guides Patrick and Matt through the industry’s nuisances, while imparting her endless creativity on the spirits. Riannon’s work in whiskey throughout her career includes consultancies and partnerships in startups of dozens of craft distilleries and independent bottlers of single malt whiskies and other fine spirits in the United States and the British Isles.
Fun Fact: Native of the UK, Riannon acquired her family’s expertise in perfuming; later learning to distill with essential oils, flowers, and herbs. She now enjoys spending time on her farm in Chester County PA, with her treasured mare and mastiffs.
6/2013 – 12/2014
6/2014 – 12/2014
Logo Creation + Brand Framework + Website Established
7/2014 – 3/2015
1/2015 – 6/2016
Licensing Process (Federal & State)
Bottle Design Completed
3/2016 – 6/2016
Federal TTB Licensing Issued
1/2017 + 4/2017
First Pennsylvania/Delaware Sales & Distribution
San Francisco Spirits Tasting Competition Results | Silver
Las Vegas Global Spirits Tasting Competition Results | Gold
Placement in PA Liquor stores
NEW naturally infused vodka introduced, meet our sweet but spicy gal: Sweetfire Jalapeño