Andy Quady: The Man Behind Vya

Sep 27, 2018

Andy Quady is a pioneer in both the wine and spirits worlds. His craft California vermouths, Vya, are some of the best on the market.

Andy graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in chemical engineering and starting working with military pyrotechnics. After meeting his wife Laurel in 1969, Andy discovered that he was becoming a fan of wine and decided to go into the industry.

After graduating from UC Davis with a masters, the couple moved to Madera in 1976 and purchased a home in Madera County that had a carport bonded as a winery. They erected a small building on the property and crushed 50 tons of Zinfandel that September.

Andy with Barrels

Name: Andy Quady

Title: President of Vya Vermouth, Quady Winery

Hometown: Pomona, California. Living in Madera, California since 1976

Number of years working in the industry: 45

How did you come up with the idea to create America’s original craft vermouth?

The idea was to improve on vermouth as we knew it. I wanted to make a vermouth that people would enjoy the way they enjoy other wines, for its flavor, complexity, balance, and drinkability.

What is your go to cocktail for a Friday evening? Manhattan, Negroni or Martini?

Any of the above. Although I do love a great Manhattan, where the vermouth, whiskey and bitters all contribute and are in balance.

What was the transition from creating sweet wines (Moscato) to creating Vya Vermouth like?

Making an “aromatized wine” like vermouth is more complicated than making a good Moscato. In making Moscato you are working with climate, soil, cultural practices, and then winemaking which aims to preserve the fruit qualities in the grapes so that they can be tasted in the wine. In making vermouth, one starts with a base wine which may or may not be significant to the taste of the vermouth. Next comes the selection of botanicals, followed by extraction of flavors and aromatics. The final result is a complex aromatized wine, vermouth

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What is it like to work simultaneously in wine and spirits markets?

I am always trying to sell our Vermouth as an aperitif wine, to be enjoyed on its own before the meal so in this case, the pitch is to the wine buyer. However, the biggest use of vermouth is in cocktails so it’s necessary to taste with the spirits buyer as well which often involves demonstrating the vermouth in a drink.

What is your favorite part about working in this industry?

Besides having distributors in 49 states, we also sell a significant amount of wine in a dozen or so foreign countries. And there are potentially many more export markets. In working with our agents overseas and traveling on our own to other markets where we may not currently have distribution one sees how cultural differences affect wine sales. For example, in Spain and Argentina vermouth is widely drunk on its own and is especially popular with young people. In the UK and the Netherlands, the dessert course is taken seriously, and diners frequently order a dessert wine as an accompaniment. In Korea where the food is spicy, low alcohol sweet Moscato is popular as an alternative to beer.

WHAT IS #MANHATTANMONTH?

If we told you that Manhattan Month was created solely as an excuse to enjoy more Manhattans, would you be disappointed? We think not! Well, it’s a hint of that, plus the perfect opportunity to explore what it is that makes the Manhattan such an incredible experience and support a good cause while doing it. From its unique history, taste, creative versatility and more – The Manhattan offers so much to explore, enjoy and share. The folks at Vya Vermouth thought it would be a great idea to set aside a whole month to do just that and teamed up with Chilled Magazine to do so.

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Manhattan Month starts by enjoying the honored cocktail in whatever shape, size and style you prefer. Mix it at home or visit your favorite bar/restaurant and have someone else mix it for you. Some venues will be offering drink specials on Manhattans all month long and contributions to a designated charity to boot. If your go-to spot isn’t, encourage them to!

Take a photo of your tasty Manhattan and share it online using #ManhattanMonth. Be sure to invite your friends and family or they might get jealous – unless that’s what you’re going for.

#MANHATTANMONTH COCKTAILS 

roasted plum manhattan

2 oz plum infused whiskey (rye or bourbon)

1 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth

2 dashes The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

Orange twist

 

Add ingredients in a glass of ice. Stir for 10-20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist a swatch of orange zest.

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1 oz Four Roses Bourbon

1 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth

1.5 oz Starboard Batch 88

Dash of The Bitter Truth Bitters

 

Combine ingredients and stir well with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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1.5 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth

1.5 oz High West Campfire Rye Whiskey

3 dashes The Bitter Truth orange bitters

 

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into glassware. Garnish with an orange twist.

perfect manhattan

2 oz Michter’s Rye Whiskey

0.5 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth

0.5 oz Vya Extra Dry Vermouth

2 dashes The Bitter Truth Bitters

Lemon or orange twist

 

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

the brooklyn manhattan

2 oz Michter’s Rye Whiskey

0.75 oz Vya Extra Dry Vermouth

2-3 dashes cherry liqueur

2 dashes The Bitter Truth Bitters

Cherry garnish

 

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and Garnish with a cherry.

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