About Us

Our Story

The Zirkova Vodka Story starts with two Canadians on a mission to bring the best vodka in the world from Ukraine to their home country. Founded by John and Katherine Vellinga, Zirkova Vodka is the product of years of formulation and trial to create the two Ultra Premium vodkas that are changing the way vodka is consumed.

The vodka category has stayed virtually unchanged from generation to generation. After discovering a gem of a vodka factory located in the Cherkasy region of Ukraine, the birthplace of vodka, John and Katherine knew they had an opportunity to elevate the vodka category. The factory in which Zirkova is produced was built in 1896 in the village of Zolotonosha, Ukraine. This location allows them to take to take advantage of the perfect source of artesian mineral water – the foundation of any great vodka.

Previous to their discovery, both John and Katherine were Engineers and had, had the opportunity to work with breweries and wineries while they lived in Ukraine from 1997-2002. In 2002, the process began when John set out to create a world class vodka. He began his work with Chief Technologist, Ludmilla Petrivna who holds a PhD in vodka. That’s right! Vodka is so legendary in Ukraine, you can get a PhD in it.

Petrivna and John began with a formulation and then would do a series of blind tastings comparing our vodka with other best in class vodkas. These other vodkas would set the benchmark standard for what to beat. It took 25 versions to accomplish this, tested three at a time. Each time Ludmilla and John would make changes or fine tune the formulation based on the feedback from the tasting panel.

One key factor in the success of the formulation was the use of quadruple distilled spirits, which provides the perfect balance of smoothness and character. Distill it less than four times and it was too harsh. Distill is more and it became tasteless and flat. Another key was the use of centre cut spirits, sometimes called sweet spot or the Tsar’s cut (legend has it that the tsar would claim these for himself, while regular people would get the rest). This eliminates the lighter spirits – which cause the medicinal aroma present in most vodkas, and also the heavier spirits, which causes the burning sensation people get when drinking many vodkas.

Finally, our vodka’s proprietary filtering and finishing method makes it more alkaline than most vodkas, which gives it a velvety smooth mouth feel when consumed neat.  And that’s how Slava vodka was born. Now you’re thinking…wait, what? I thought this was Zirkova. Well it is. But there’s more to our story than our vodka simply becoming Zirkova. The vodka you know today as Zirkova One was Slava Vodka until about 2016. So, for all the Slava Vodka fans out there, it is still available, just under a new name, Zirkova One.

Now here’s where our story changes the way the vodka category defines itself. Until Zirkova, every vodka you purchase on the shelf is meant for any purpose you’d use vodka for, mixing, drinking neat or crafting a cocktail. The more premium a vodka is, is reflected in the price point and with the exception of flavoured vodkas, the category has seen little to no innovation over the years. John and Katherine set out to change that by creating vodkas for how people actually use them. This is why Slava was renamed Zirkova One.  It was confusing to people when the liquids were under different brands. Distilled in the same factory as Zirkova One, Zirkova Together follows the same distillation process as Zirkova One with the exception of it’s finishing and filtering, which is different. When taken neat, Zirkova Together is immediate and aromatic.  Despite the fact that it is still superb straight, Zirkova Together’s formulation was created to enhance the flavour of anything it’s combined with, elevating the flavour of every cocktail into which it is mixed.

Additionally, Zirkova One and Zirkova Together are priced at the same price point and are companion products. Their blends are created to personalize your drinking experience and let you better enjoy the way you consume vodka – neat or mixed or both. They are both Ultra Premium, neither is more premium or outshines the other.

Additionally, Zirkova One and Zirkova Together are priced at the same price point and are companion products. Their blends are created to personalize your drinking experience and let you better enjoy the way you consume vodka – neat or mixed or both. They are both Ultra Premium, neither is more premium or outshines the other.

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