J.J. Resnick: Moscow Mule Man

President/CEO at Moscow Copper Co.

After selling his company that made gear for service animals, this young entrepreneur and Santa Barbara resident tapped into his family history to revive the original copper mug used in the Moscow Mule.

The Story: In 1941, his grandma, Sophie Berezinski, who’d left Russia as a little girl, was told by her husband to get rid of the many copper mugs she made with her father. A friend of hers had just bought Smirnoff Vodka (in an age when everyone drank brown spirits), and his friend owned the Cock ’n’ Bull in Hollywood, where he loved making ginger beer, even though everyone drank ginger ale. The trio put their heads together and came up with a tasty drink of vodka, ginger beer, and lime on ice, served in those copper mugs. The Moscow Mule was born. “She was a pretty strong, outgoing woman, and I like to think I get some of my entrepreneurial spirit from her,” said Resnick.

The Plan: On an overseas business trip for his prior company, Resnick walked past a store filled with the fake Moscow Mule mugs. “The junk mugs you see at most bars with a vodka brand on the side are really plastic or tin that are sprayed a copper color,” said Resnick. “I made it my mission to source the best copper in the world and go back to the original design.”

The Growth: In the first year, Resnick’s Moscow Copper Co., which sources the metal from Turkey, Mexico, and India, made 25,000 mugs. But that number is expected to grow to 250,000 in the year to come, thanks to a deal with Stolichnaya Vodka. There’s also a 75th anniversary book called Mulehead coming out this fall, featuring more lore and 75 recipes from around the world that were culled from 4,000 submissions.


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