Alizabeth Jetter describes herself as an inventor who has always known she was destined to start her own business.
And that’s exactly what she has done.
Jetter, a South Side native, is the owner of the only Black owned distillery in the country that is run by a female. The distillery and her product is called Bleu Vodka.
Jetter says her journey to become an entrepreneur was not without challenges as she faced barriers as a female and as an African-American. But that didn’t stop her and her husband, Britt, for pursuing what they knew would be a hit.
In 2014, Jetter and her husband began learning the liquor business to develop Bleu Vodka. They met with Dr. Tony VandenBush, a research scientist, who introduced them to different infusions, and they fell in love with the blueberry infusion.
From there Jetter knew they had something good going and needed to expand. After having multiple tastings of different flavored liquors, about 97 percent of all individuals who tasted their product loved it.
After getting such satisfying reviews, Jetter began researching within the federal government what was needed to begin branding and expanding a liquor line. Midway Wholesale then took on Bleu Vodka and was the first to produce their work and make it possible for them to enter the liquor market. In addition, Jetter was the creative mastermind behind every aspect including the style of the box and logos.
After several months of working hard to build a brand, Bleu Vodka entered their first store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, called Benz and eventually made their way to Hyvee, another grocery store. Jetter then got their product into Kenwood Liquors and Kimbark Liquors on the South Side of Chicago, who have become their biggest supporting stores.
The Jetters have a lot in store for Bleu Vodka. They are expanding their brand within Chicago, nationally and even globally at an affordable price. Bleu Vodka is having their official launch party in October and plans to partner with local restaurants and bars to have “Bleu Nights.”
With 4,000 new brands trying to launch every day, Jetter and her husband faced many discouraging setbacks during the production of their liquor business but that never stopped them from being successful. Jetter says the most important part about starting your own business is networking and securing connections with those who will support your product. It was challenging for the Jetters to gain support from other liquor businesses but fortunately they were able to find support elsewhere.
Jetter has lived by the motto, “Nobody can stop you but yourself” and has internalized these words and kept pushing through all difficult barriers.
Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is “If you love what you do and you’re passionate about it, always keep going.”
Be on the lookout for Bleu Vodka in a local store near you.