It took a 2007 Las Vegas bachelor party to get Clevelander Tom Rini thinking about the vodka biz. Four years and countless experiments later, Rini has found his niche as the developer of a pure, premium, private-label vodka he calls Crāv.
Rini, a Fairview Park guy with diplomas from St. Ignatius and John Carroll University, comes from an entrepreneurial background: His family founded the Rini grocery store chain and now operates Rini Realty Co. No surprise then that he always yearned for a chance to make his own mark.
Sitting over drinks recently at Pier W — the roll-out restaurant for Crāv-based cocktails — Rini told me he needed something of his own to feel passionate about. "On my 34th birthday I told myself, 'It's now or never.' You only go around once, and I knew it was time to embrace my passions." (That sentiment, "embrace your passions" later became the product's tagline.)