We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Borg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
As a Swede living in the US for over 15 years, I’ve been craving for food and drinks that reminds me about home, especially during the holiday season or get togethers with friends. Some of the Swedish food is easy to find at local European delis, but when it comes to Scandinavian alcoholic beverages, I find myself searching up and down the store shelves without any luck.
A few years back, during a mid-summer celebration in Sweden, I was introduced to a sparkling wine made from birch tree sap from my home town, Östersund. I was happily surprised by how good it was and wanted to learn more about this unique wine. I received a few bottles to bring back to San Diego, CA to test the market. A local wine store and their trained sommeliers gave high remarks while sampling the wine, which led me to look into the possibilities of importing the wine to the US.
After nearly 1 year of researching how to start an import and wholesale business, I teamed up with a friend, Daniel Hoggar and launched Viking Spirits, Inc. in the spring of 2020.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Viking Spirits is an environmentally conscious business with focus on sustainable wine & spirits products from Scandinavia. We love working with smaller craft distilleries and artisanal wine makers who use local farmers and locally grown produce.
Starting a new company during the pandemic presented additional challenges, but it led us to build up our online web shop first and later engage with retail stores. Because of supply chain issues, we have had some difficulties introducing new products into the US market as both cost and delivery times of container shipments have sky rocketed. We even had to resort to air freight in order to bring new products for the upcoming winter holidays.
Our first product Sav sparkling took nearly 6 months to arrive at our warehouse, fortunately it is one of our best sellers and won gold at the San Diego International Wine & Spirits challenge, 2021.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love San Diego and its diverse restaurants and bars. One of my favorite place is Seaport Village with restaurants offering fresh sea food to eat while overlooking the harbor and the San Diego Bay. It’s a family friendly place to go walking afterwards or book a tour around the bay with one of the local seal tour in hydra-terras. In the evening the city comes alive, the bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp district are flooding with people. Parts of the 5th avenue is currently closed off for traffic in lieu of outdoor dining due to the ongoing pandemic and restaurants offer full dine-in menus.
There are many great malls in San Diego that are worthwhile a visit. My favorite is the newly renovated Westfield mall in the UTC area, featuring several upscale stores, restaurants and bars. A must see is a Speakeasy style bar called Raised by Wolves with a packed cocktail menu that’s worth while checking out.
La Jolla is famous for its beaches and bustling sea life with birds, seals and sea lions. Renting a kayak or a paddle board and a wetsuit gives you the chance to get real close to enjoy the sea life both above and underneath the water.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Since the start, Viking Spirits has worked closely with Jonas Larsson at Tevsjö Mill and Distillery to bring in our Scandinavian craft spirits. He deserves a special shoutout and credit for our initial launch!