Over at the New York Times, Tito Beveridge, the Texas vodka distiller, explains how it all came about—and it really shouldn’t have, considering he started out as pre-med, switched to data processing, went on to oil and gas exploration, environmental clean-up, then on to commercial real estate, suffering a slew of setbacks and failures each step of the way. “I was just trying to make a living,” he tells the Times. “I would have loved to have stayed at my first oil job after college. But a lot of other people in Texas were in a similar situation in those years.” And keep in mind prosperity was far from certain when Beveridge decided to make vodka (it took him eight years before he made a profit). And even though his 300,000 cases a year is dwarfed by the millions sold by giants like Diageo and Pernod Ricard, for one man, it is indisputably a success story—a very American story, too.