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Toast and Gosling’s show the right spirit

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Cheers: Esdra Lamy, left, Annie Mercado and Dieuveny Louis, makers of Toast Vodka, the official vodka of the America’s Cup at Gosling’s, who will distribute the spirit in Bermuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Cheating death inspired American businessman Dieuveny Louis to celebrate life with his Toast Vodka brand.

Now the Florida-distilled spirit is the official vodka of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup and his company, in the spirit of collaboration, has linked up with rum maker Gosling’s to distribute Toast Vodka in Bermuda.

Mr Louis, known as D.J., said his company, originally founded to promote nightlife, music and lifestyle in Miami, the party capital of the US, launched its own vodka less than two years ago.

He added: “The opportunity came about where we wanted to celebrate with America’s Cup and bring more than vodka to the table.”

Toast has already organised star-studded events in New York and Chicago, where music superstar Wyclef Jean was the VIP guest.

Mr Louis, whose own family is originally from Haiti, said: “We bring a different element, not just alcohol, we also bring in the parties.”

Mr Louis was speaking on his second visit to Bermuda, where Gosling’s will carry the corn-based vodka, which includes pure, flavour-free coconut water.

He said: “So far, so good. We have nothing but good things to say. Having great brands like Louis Vuitton, Gosling’s and Moet & Chandon, all we can do is bring our part to the table. We’re very pleased and excited.

“Toast is one of a kind and having a brand that’s coming from the heart of Miami and which symbolises the party lifestyle is ideal.

“What we’re hoping is we will really get global exposure. The whole America’s Cup is a very good branding opportunity. We’re just going to keep rolling and see what comes.

“It’s our first time being associated with a sporting event of this magnitude — it’s a global reach.”

In 2010, Mr Louis missed his flight from the US the day before a devastating earthquake rocked a large area of the Caribbean nation, including the capital Port-au-Prince, where the hotel he should have been in collapsed, killing hundreds.

He arrived in Haiti only hours before disaster struck — he visited the hotel, but had not yet checked in when the earthquake hit.

Now he has dedicated his Toast Vodka brand “to life, to love, to us.”

He travelled to Bermuda with Esdra Lamy, executive partner in Toast and Annie Mercado, vice-president for sales and also Mr Louis’ fiancée.

Mr Lamy said: “The interesting thing about this brand and this company is that we’re such a small team, but we operate like we’ve got 100 people on the ground.

“We all work together as a unit — whatever we need to pick up, light or heavy, we all pick up.”

He added: “The Gosling’s brand has such a legacy and to have that legacy you have got to have great energy and people prepared to sacrifice to create that brand.

“This is a perfect synergy and good energy on both sides. It’s a great fit and we’re delighted to be working with them.”

Ms Mercado added: “D.J. is all about lifestyle, toasting to life and loving people and he’s a humble guy. We never forget to say thanks to life.”

Drink to that: Toast Vodka is the official vodka of the America’s Cup (Photograph by Akil Simmons)