‘Style of Black Spirits’ Expands From Detroit To Grand Rapids, More

After Motu Viget Spirits was officially launched in the Detroit market through the Taste of Black Spirits showcase in May, Motu Viget Spirits is bringing the same event – and no fewer than 20 Black-owned brands – to their hometown of Grand Rapids, MI.

Scheduled for November 13: Taste of Black Spirits – Grand Rapids will position emerging brands like Motu Viget and Red Hazel Spiced Whiskey alongside more established and hip brands like Uncle Nearest and LS Liqueur during a fully curated tasting event. The participants have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the different spirits as well as with different brands.

The event was conceived by Lazar favors, Owner of Black Spirits Legacy and a market development association for Uncle Nearest. Motu Viget co-founder Willie “The Kid” Jackson recounts BLACK COMPANIES that the inspiration behind the event is simple: “To raise awareness of African American founded liquor brands with the intention of expanding distribution opportunities.”

“As an entrepreneur who has minority stakes in the spirits industry himself, it is not enough to just participate in the market and be individually successful,” he adds. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to strengthen the black spirit company ecosystem as a whole and help other brands gain access to larger retailers, while at the same time helping the community familiarize themselves with various founders and owners.”

Founded in 2020, Motu Viget is already realizing part of the success the company hopes to become a standard for craft spirits brands owned by Black. The company that launched with a signature brut has now expanded to include Eye Candy Rose and Avani Supreme Vodka. The three sub-brands are currently available from 300 retailers in Michigan, including 70 grocery stores in the Meijer Super Center. The Motu Viget brut is also available online.

By bringing Taste of Black Spirits to Grand Rapids and possibly other markets, Jackson and his partner have Jonathan Jelks hope to be able to begin cultivating an audience that seeks these brands by name, thus creating a type of demand that will instill trust with dealers.

“In 2021, it is vital for community stakeholders not to just discuss diversity in a vacuum,” says Jelks. “But also to lead by constructively creating opportunities and pipelines that help entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities grow.”

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