Local restaurant owner creates vodka that goes “viral”

A local restaurant owner partners up with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend Rick Nielsen, and creates a vodka make with a very unique ingredient.
Published: Feb. 6, 2022 at 10:05 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2022 at 10:35 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Owner of RBI Brunch Bar in Rockford Andy Rio is the creator of ROCK’N Vodka, an alcohol that has received a lot of attention across the nation.

What makes ROCK’N Vodka so different is it’s one of the few vodkas in the world made from pure sugar cane, on top of it being non-GMO and gluten free. To add to it’s local flavor ROCK’N Vodka is bottled nearby at Rush Creek Distillery Harvard.

“It’s a lot harder than I originally thought, but I tell you what, you stay the course and you keep on pushing...I mean we were just featured on the Rachael Ray show,” said Rio.

The company started here in Rockford but has now blown up across the nation over the past two years. “You can drive the ROCK’N Vodka car on play-station and XBOX all over the world. Sammy Hagar’s posting about us, Ryan Roxie...” said Rio.

ROCK’N Vodka has been noticed by celebrities everywhere. They’ve partnered up with NASCAR driver Josh Bilicki, MMA Fighter and Hononegah graduate Corey Anderson, and even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, and cheap trick guitarist Rick Nielsen.

“It’s been great obviously with the Rick Nielsen connection and his influence around the world,” said Rio. “We’re also the featured vodka at the Hard Rock Casino, the new casino here in Rockford.”

ROCK’N Vodka is now offered in Canada and six different states in the USA. Last Friday, Walmart approved it to be sold in all 161 of it’s Illinois locations.

“It’s just going berserk right now. It’s nuts. It’s a blessing,” said Rio.

Rio added that starting the company right before the pandemic hit, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It allowed them to spend so much close time to strategize their next moves for the company with Rick Nielsen.

Rio still owns RBI Brunch Bar in Rockford, but said the explosion of ROCK’N Vodka led him to sell the other four restaurants he owned, in order to make more time to expand the brand.

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