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Stoli LGBT Ambassador Opens Up About the ‘Spirit of Stonewall’

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The Stoli “Spirit of Stonewall” limited-edition design celebrates the LGBTQ rights movement.

Stoli Vodka celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising with something very special; the Stoli “Spirit of Stonewall” limited-edition bottle.

Intended to honor the historic event, the Stoli Spirit of Stonewall bottle upholds the brand’s long-standing support of the LGBTQ community. In partnership with the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, Stoli hopes to help the organization eliminate the social intolerances that deeply affect the lives of LGBTQ people around the world.

 

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Award-winning visual artist and member of the LGBTQ community Lisa Marie Thalhammer created the bottle’s label. She is best known for her brilliant 13-color rainbow “LOVE” mural located on Blagden Alley in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood.

 

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For the design, Thalhammer incorporated a mural theme and with LGBTQ-related imagery, including:

  • Five hands and three protest signs at the corner of Gay and Christopher Streets outside of the Stonewall inn
  • A high heel to represent the trans activists who initiated the 1969 uprisings
  • A protest sign spelling out LIBERATION as reference to the Gay Liberation Front that includes three gender symbols
  • A peace sign and protest fist that holds a rainbow energy ribbon that swirls between fingers, and brings the community together

Related | A Complete Guide to the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic 2019

In commemoration of the bottle, we spoke with Stoli Vodka National LGBTQ Ambassador and Manager, Patrik Gallineux.

Gayety: What inspired Stoli to create such a unique bottle?

Patrik Gallineux: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which took place in June 1969 in the West Village of New York City. We were excited with the concept of being able to use our brand to bring much needed and deserved visibility to this crucial event in history that sparked the modern Pride movement. We could not be more pleased for the privilege of bringing the concept to fruition with the assistance of so many talented and knowledgeable partners.

How was Lisa Marie Thalhammer selected as the designer for the project?

Lisa Marie was part of a widespread nomination process for artists in the fall of last year. We are fortunate that we have such a wonderful base of true Stoli ambassadors across the country in the form of our dozens of Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic bartender participants and champions. It was our reigning SKWCC North American Champion, Jo McDaniel from Washington DC, who nominated Lisa Marie. We knew that to create something as important as a commemorative bottle celebrating the history of the Stonewall Uprising and the brave people who sparked the movement, would require an incredible individual behind the artwork. It had to be someone with the heart of a positive activist, knowledge of and passion for LGBTQ history, and the talent to bring the LOVE and emotion of a movement to life. Lisa Marie checked all the boxes in spades, and, after about an hour of her first phone interview, we pretty much knew we were on the Thalhammer train with a one-way ticket to her 13-color rainbow spectrum.

Where can spirit enthusiasts purchase the limited edition bottle?

This is a limited edition with only 40,000 bottles available in the United States (with another 10,000 distributed in Chile, Switzerland, and the UK), and one can look for this bottle in fine LGBTQ supportive bars and limited retail stores across the country. Be sure to ask your preferred spirits purveyor if they might be planning to be a part of the release. We are also partnering with Reserve Bar so people can easily purchase the bottle online – the bottle should be on their website within the next week or so!

Last year, Stoli released a Harvey Milk tribute label; are limited edition LGBTQ-themed bottles now part of Stoli’s annual production line?

In 2017, Stoli launched the “Raising the Bar” platform to reinforce Stoli’s decades-long commitment to LGBTQ equality. We also began placing an even greater focus on the people, places, and things that have loudly and clearly broken barriers and paved the way for all people to live their lives authentically and unapologetically. Some of our related initiatives include our “Heroes of Diversity” video series, our 6th annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic bartender celebration, and, of course, our second limited edition LGBTQ tribute bottle this year, the Stoli “Spirit of Stonewall.” Our LGBTQ history is crucially important, and we are committed on an on-going 365-day-a-year commitment to celebrate, educate, and inspire others to spark change with all resources at hand. Certainly, this could include many additional commemorative bottles, but we would initiate and release them only if we are able to do so with the perfect partners in a way that is completely purposeful and authentically meaningful.

Will the piece of art commemorating the Spirit of Stonewall be on display throughout the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic?

The bottle design itself is a piece of art. The bottle image is not a reproduction of something that previously existed, but in fact a completely unique creation born of this collaboration between Stoli and artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer; so in that sense, yes it shall likely be on display as the bottles become publicly available. It will also be visible in various forms including on 5-foot pop-up displays, 8-foot canvas backdrops, and has the potential to be featured in murals that Lisa Marie may paint across the country. The theme of this year’s Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic is “Visibility: Make it Loud and Clear,” and this is, indeed, to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which really ties it all together beautifully.

After that event, will the artwork stay on display for the public? If so, where?

We certainly hope the bottle art will live on in the many forms. Part of the bottle design includes Lisa Marie’s renowned “LOVE” mural, which is proudly on display in the DC Alley Museum, a project she co-founded in Blagden Alley with support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Public Art Building Communities Program.

Patrik, what is YOUR favorite element of the “Spirit of Stonewall” design? And, why?

Overall, the visual of a world changing from black and white to full color through the gorgeous swirls of positive energy emanating through the hands of the brave people who fought back in June 1969 and sparked so much change. But, specifically, it is the high heel held high by a member of the trans community that is boldly leaping right off the label with the final burst of rainbow force.

Will the Stonewall Inn have these bottles at their bar?

We are still determining where these special bottles will be displayed and available, but considering the bottle’s namesake, and how gorgeously the artwork shines, I would be surprised if one does not find it in the “place where Pride began”.

If you’d like to purchase the Stoli Spirit of Stonewall Limited Edition bottle, it’s available here.

Stoli LGBT Ambassador Opens Up About the ‘Spirit of Stonewall’

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