Matthew Steeples explores the story behind Konik’s Tail vodka
Kosovo born Pleurat Shabani came to London in the early 1990s and has progressed from working in an Angus Steakhouse to owning a much loved vodka brand that is stocked in some of the city’s finest establishments.
Konik’s Tail – named after a mythical Konik pony – is a Polish sipping vodka that is made with three different grains: spelt, rye and wheat. Its bottle bears a label designed and written by Hugh Laurie (Shabani’s wife used to be the actor’s PA) and of it, Keith Lyon of Waitrose has described it as a “supremely crafted spirit, [that] takes vodka to another level”.
Shabani is not a man who believes that all vodkas should be “colourless, odourless and tasteless”. In a 2011 interview with the Evening Standard, he spoke enthusiastically about how he wanted customers to buy Konik’s Tail for the quality and taste of “the liquid inside, not the bottle” and of his rejection of the obsession “with how many times the vodka has been distilled”. He is not a man who has followed the standard marketing paths of such brands as Belvedere, Grey Goose and SKYY.
The creation of Konik’s Tail – which launched in 2007 – was initially funded by £250,000 of financing raised from family and friends. In the years since and as the brand has developed, however, Pleurat Shabani has been able to reject further funding from venture capitalists and a cast member of the BBC’s Dragons’ Den and instead focused on steady, self-sustained growth.
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