While Black History Month may be over, that doesn’t mean Black history isn’t still being made. With every generation comes a set of tastemakers whose creativity and brilliance sets the tone for future generations on what it means to thrive while making positive strides for the culture. One visionary helping to usher in the next era of Black excellence is none other than Ricky Miller. Miller, the CEO of Carbonadi Vodka, has blazed his own trail and redefined what it means to find success along the intersection of entrepreneurship and passion.
While Miller was heavily involved in sports as an adolescent, his love of art and culture influenced his journey to creating the alcohol brand. While on this journey, he hopes to create opportunities for the next generation of Black entrepreneurs.
“I pride myself on being a man from humble beginnings with a knack for entrepreneurship and a passion for creativity. I grew up playing sports but always had an affinity for art and culture, which heavily influenced my approach to building Carbonadi. I consider myself more of a “creative” than a “spirits” guy, but I have an appreciation for fine wine and premium spirits, which drew me to the industry. While I’m on this journey, I would like to create opportunities for people who look like me to pursue careers in luxury wine and spirits and inspire the next generation of Black professionals to see this industry as a career pathway.“
After pivoting from a previous business venture and being inspired by his own unfortunate experiences with alcohol, Miller decided it was time to move forward in establishing the luxury brand.
“I decided to create Carbonadi as a pivot after one of my other businesses had to be shelved. It had been a dream of mine since college. I, like many others, had some horrible experiences with alcohol, and after being exposed to the good stuff, I never wanted to go back.
I wanted to create an enjoyable and distinctive luxury spirit of my own. As a person who loves brand building and challenging the status quo, I saw an opportunity to enter the vodka category with a premium taste and offering that rang with the same tone as a Dom Perignon or Armand De Brignac. I felt that if I could create a special liquid, and borrow quality cues from adjacent luxury sectors, all while authentically injecting culture and creativity into the space through dope collaborations, activations, and experiences, then I could make an impact in the industry.”
With the colossal success that Miller has achieved with Carbonadi, it shouldn’t be a surprise that his inspiration comes from another creative whose genius knew no bounds.
“Virgil Abloh is definitely someone who has tremendously inspired me. His problem-solving approach, commitment to being as much of himself as possible, desire to help people fulfill their dreams, ego-less approach to everything, and love for all cultures have resonated with me more than I could ever imagine. Many people told him he was crazy for creating a ‘luxury streetwear’ brand, but he was making it for himself, and that’s all that mattered; not market data, not opinions of industry veterans, just his belief and desire to create something that was dope to him.”
Ultimately, Miller created Carbonadi to appeal to those who, like himself, enjoy the merging of luxury and culture.
“When I embarked on this journey, I wanted to create a new way to experience vodka, not just in product quality but in what the brand represents. And it was important for me to approach this process as authentically as possible. I’m personally inspired by art, culture, hip-hop, fashion, and creativity, so I wanted to reflect that in Carbonadi. Carbonadi is for those who, like myself, enjoy a lifestyle at the intersection of luxury and culture. Those who can enjoy a day out on a Riva Yacht on Lake Como sipping ice-cold Carbonadi martinis with Louis Armstrong coming out the speakers, the same they can enjoy a 150-person Kendrick Lamar (as an opening act) show at the Roxy Theater in Hollywood with the aroma of spilled beer filling the room. This is what I enjoy, and when I can have both those vibes in the same place, I’m happy.”