NORMAN — If there’s anything that Garrett Janko hates to do it’s losing.
“If I start anything, I will finish it,” Janko said.
It’s that mindset, and the help of his brother Kenny Janko, his cousin Aaron Riel and friend Alvin Philipose, that Twister Vodka was born.
But making vodka was not the business that Janko had intended to enter.
“I applied for a license to make ethanol and I really wanted to make our own fuel. It’s a really lucrative opportunity and that’s what I went to school for. They shut me down because I was too small,” Garrett said.
So, again with the mindset that he will not lose, the Moore High School graduate had a different idea.
“We are so business driven and all of us were so tired of our jobs then. You get to a point where this is so mundane and boring. Yes, we are making money but no one was happy. When my ethanol deal fell through, we were all sitting around talking and I said, ‘Well, they said we could open up a distillery.’ And everybody just looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Nobody knew what that entailed. We’ve went through so many hardships, but we’ve all stuck together. There have been times that we’ve all been at each other’s throats,” Garrett said.
After jumping all the hurdles and the hoops put before them by the ABLE Commission and the Federal government for nine months, the four businessmen were able to rent out a 3,000 square foot facility in Moore to open Oklahoma’s only distillery.
“We started producing in December and we’ve been busy ever since. We are way busier than we ever thought we would be. We have been producing between 70 and 100 cases every week,” Garrett said.