Exeleon Magazine

Interview with Founder of Saint Luna – David Suk

David Suk_Saint Luna_Dynamic Entrepreneur_Exeleon Magazine

A taste of tradition with a tweak from science. This is how one can define Saint Luna. The one-of-a-kind beverage is a modernized version of once popular staple drink, ‘Moonshine.’ It came to the United States with the Scotch-Irish descendants who fought valiantly during the years of the Revolution. But after enjoying decades of popularity, it encountered some serious legal threats and was sidelined. 

Brewers always look for inspiration. David Suk, founder of Saint Luna, was also looking for it to create a brand that would be premium and much-coveted by the elites. And, he stumbled upon this idea of modernizing ‘Moonshine.’ He fused his innovations with a century-old practice, which is now creating ripples in the country. He shared his story with Exeleon, while discussing his venture, Saint Luna.

What does a brand mean to you? What makes Saint Luna a stand out brand?

A brand is meant to evoke a statement or feeling. The best brands have a true, and unique identity that serve a purpose, and I think that is why Saint Luna stands out. We are premium, but gritty, accessible and true to who we are. 

What prompted the inception of Saint Luna? 

I had the idea several years ago to create a modernized version of moonshine, something elevated and more craft. You typically don’t see moonshine in higher-end restaurants or craft cocktail bars, and I thought I had an opportunity to penetrate that space. The name Saint Luna is translated to Saint Moon and is an ethereal feeling of luxury. 

What is the process that goes into fine-tuning the taste and appearance of the product?

We use a charred oak to filter Saint Luna, helping to remove impurities but also leaving Saint Luna with a hint of smoky flavor. The mash is where good alcohol starts. We use high grade molasses and locally sourced rye in our mash, creating an exceptionally balanced and smooth spirit when distilled. We use de-ionized water to proof our spirit, ensuring each step of the process is quality controlled.  

What has the journey been like for the company since its inception?

It’s taken a while to build the right contacts to help build and scale the way I want to and has been an incredible learning experience. I do believe having partners in the industry early on, particularly those with distributor relationships, would have helped us scale faster. Even though we are unique and craft cocktail-forward, the hardest part is getting distributors to notice our spirit.  

What has been your role in steering the company ahead? 

As the founder, the overall vision of Saint Luna is something I think about daily, but we are a start-up, so it doesn’t just stop there. Having the vision is one thing, but then it’s the execution, the non-stop selling, networking and looking for ways to move Saint Luna forward, all the while trying to keep costs covered. The irony is, my only experience in the cocktail world is drinking them. But, with inspiration and passion, one can learn anything. 

How does Saint Luna ensure offering a memorable experience with every sip? 

It’s the versatility of Saint Luna that is quite memorable. You have a 50%, overproof spirit that is so smooth it can be sipped on ice but can also be mixed into just about any craft cocktail. 

What has been the biggest challenge for the company thus far? 

The biggest challenge has been scaling distribution quickly and doing it on a start-up budget. Each State has its own legal requirements, its own distributors, and trying to get noticed amongst a sea of much bigger brands with a lot more money to spend, has been challenging. But I’m a firm believer that we have an exceptional spirit, very unique and groundbreaking. 

What is the future roadmap for the company? 

Saint Luna will continue to expand into States outside of New York and Tennessee, which is currently where we have distribution. We are actively talking to a number of partners to help us expand Nationwide. At some point, I’d also love to bring unique infusions to market.  

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