Here at BELLO, we had the chance to speak with the founders of L.A. based Kástra Elión who just launched their first premium Premium Vodka Distilled from Greek Olives and Grains! They shared how they came together and how each of them play an important role in the company. They all bring something special to the table so take a look and get to know the men behind this amazing new launch!

How did the history of your company begin?

Mike and Brandon, liking to partake in a good vodka drink, felt that not having an olive distilled vodka in the world was surprising. They presented the idea to Frank, whom thought they were crazy! Frank was still very intrigued with the idea and soon presented the first prototype. After a lot of taste testing, a-lot, we have Kástra Elión.

What inspired you to make a vodka with Greek olives?

We felt that the olive was a perfect fit for vodka, hence the martini. We were surprised that it hasn’t been done before.

What do you think differentiates you from other vodka brands? 

Kástra Elión really is a game changer in the vodka, maybe the entire spirits world. We are not a flavored vodka, we actually distill with Greek olives and it proves an elevated experience. From start to finish you get a vaporous sweet taste with notes of olive and peppery undertones, and a soft buttery finish.

Describes in 3 words your Vodka… 


How did you all meet? 

Mike and Brandon met through mutual friends almost 20 years ago. To say the least they have had a lot of partaking in vodka drink together over the years. Brandon takes full accountability in how Frank is in our lives. Frank is Aphrodite’s father. Aphrodite is Mike’s wife. Mike and Aphrodite met out on their magical night… Yes, the night of Brandon’s birthday outing!

What is your favorite place in Greece? 

My top place hands down… Nafpaktos.

Where would you particularly like to be distributed in the world?

We are working on distribution in Europe right now, specifically I am looking forward to being an international brand.



Mike Camello

What is your mission in Kástra Elión?

My mission with Kástra Elión is to create a very unique and complex vodka that people can enjoy neat or on the rocks. I think there is stigma on vodka that it is just used for mixing cocktails and we have always believed it was more than that. Also, as I have fallen in love with the Greek culture I have wanted to share more of that hasn’t really been introduced to the United States in a commercial way.

With your experience in production and entertainment, are you going to make a movie for Kástra Elión?

I don’t know if I will make a movie about Kástra Elión, but definitely like to infuse my love for storytelling into the brand. We really want to create content that is not only visually engaging, but also adds substance about Greek history, ingredients, travel, family, and many other components.

 Where do you see the company in 10 years?

I see Kástra Elión in 50 to 60 major markets with a good balance between domestic and international. We want to position our brand as the go to premium sipping Vodka in the category. More importantly, I see us creating opportunities and jobs in our families hometown of Nafpaktos. As we grow we want to create a real tasting facility and getaway in the town. A place where family and friends of the brand can experience not just our product, but the Greek culture at it’s finest.

What is your favorite cocktail with Vodka? 

My favorite way to drink Kástra Elión is just on the rocks. If I’m going to do more of a cocktail we have a drink called Kástra LeMeli. It is our take on a bee’s knee’s using Greek Honey, fresh lemon, and a long rosemary spear for garnish.

Describes in 3 words your Vodka… 





Brandon Cohen

What is your mission in Kástra Elión?

My mission is to continually keep our brand true to our core values across all platforms. We started as a family driven product and that really plays throughout our entire brand’s look and feel. The experience that Kástra Elión presents derives from associations that root from all of the founder’s backgrounds, the intimacies of our trip to Greece as a family, but now with a focus as a premium lifestyle brand. This is what governs through our ethics.

What do you bring to the company? 

I bring a multidisciplinary education and career specializing in creating and implementing strategic design-centric, on-broad experiences.

Are there any projects you’re currently working on?

There are many. Being a new brand, we are really hands on with every piece. The most recent project that we are starting is with a mixologist, who mad the mark in the spirits world as Eat Your Drink. This one is exciting because we will be working close with him to design cocktails that look beautiful, stay uniquely on brand, and elevate the drinking experience with keeping Kástra Elión as the main voice.

 What is your favorite cocktail with Vodka? 

That’s easy… Kástra Rocks. We pride KE as a sipping vodka and it truly holds up to the declaration.

Frank Mihalopoulos

What is your mission in Kástra Elión?

My mission is twofold – to continue to improve the process and formula in order to achieve the maximum qualitative potential of our product and give back to the community of Nafpaktos and help bring Greeks and Americans even closer.

What do you believe is the best secret ingredient in a cocktail? 

The quality of the base alcoholic spirit used in the cocktail. In our case, we sought out to develop, and we believe we have a vodka that is smooth and full on the pallet with complexity and savory salinity, that can be enjoyed straight over ice but also blend, lift and compliment the particular ingredients in the cocktails.

As a Certified Flavor Chemist, are you developing a new flavor at the moment?

In the past forty years I have developed many flavors that are still in use in the market. In recent years I have concentrated on coffee extractions. Currently I am working on a coffee cherry extraction involving a cold brew extraction technique.

What is your favorite cocktail with Vodka? 

Kástra Elión Bloody Mary. The trick is to use a high end Bloody Mary Mixer and of course Kástra Elión.


By Justine Duclaux