From throwing the football to brewing spirits, Chad Greenway, Wayzata resident and former Minnesota Vikings linebacker, has adjusted his path in retirement.
Three friends (and Vikings fans), Jamie Quesnel, Jerry Schulz and Mark Cotter, joined forces with Greenway to create their own line of vodka that has a decidedly Midwestern vibe and showcases some Minnesota pride. Quesnel, Schulz and Cotter felt Greenway was representative of the lifestyle and brand they wanted to promote.
“From growing up on a pig farm in South Dakota to playing football for the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Vikings, he truly embodies what it means to be from the great Midwest, just like Gray Duck Vodka,” they say.
The name, of course, is a nod to the childhood game Duck, Duck, Gray Duck (using the animal “gray duck” instead of “goose” is unique to Minnesota).
The local connections continue; the Gray Duck Vodka team uses corn grown by family-owned farms in Benson, Minn.
“We wanted to create a spirit that truly embodies what it means to be from the Midwest. We have sourced over 5,100 bushels of corn from those family farms,” Gray Duck says.
The company has also put together a list of duck-themed cocktails and recipes, like the Filthy Duck (Gray Duck vodka, Filthy olive juice and Filthy blue cheese stuffed olives), and the Salty Duck (vodka, grapefruit juice and a slice of grapefruit).
Greenway says his favorite way to use the vodka is in the jalapeno-infused Duck, Duck, Mule, which has Gray Duck vodka, jalapenos, Cock n Bull ginger beer, Grand Marnier and an orange slice.
Since his retirement, Greenway has loved filling his time working in the spirits business and getting to spend more moments with his family. His life in Wayzata has afforded him the space to raise his family as well as continue to have a social life.
“It is so refreshing for this small town South Dakota boy to walk down Lake Street and see so many faces that you know and can chat with. It truly feels like a small town. At the same time, feeling like a small town with all the amenities of a major city all within our zip code is pretty special,” Greenway says.
Gray Duck Vodka can be found all over the Midwest in most liquor stores, groceries, gas stations, restaurants and more.