CHICAGO (CBS) — It started with five Chicago friends four years ago.

“We really wanted to start a company that had a giving back component to it. We felt strongly about equal rights so we decided we wanted to do something that would help the gay community,” said Jennifer Schulze, co-owner, Halsted Vodka.

“We were inspired by Halsted Street Chicago. Halsted Street is known around the world as a place that has supported equal rights through the years so it just made sense to everyone involved.”

Schulze says for three years, they ran research groups, focus groups and tastes tests with people who frequented Halsted street…

“The idea of the product, the name and the give back is all inspired by Chicago and the recipe was inspired by the people on Halsted Street.”

In the end it was the people of Chicago who helped create it.

“A very bold taste but smooth, something that was really high quality.”

Distilled in Denver, Halsted Vodka can now be found around the Chicago land area in various Binny’s, Mariano’s and bars and restaurants. 15 percent of the profits go to LGBT causes.

“We help them with their events, we invite them to our events, they’re very excited about it, they tell their members, they go to the store and buy it and that in itself is invaluable.”

Schulze says Halsted Vodka is one of a kind and consumers seem to be responding.

“People love it when they realize that every time they buy a cocktail made with Halsted Vodka, they are giving back to the gay community. We are the only spirit in the world that gives back to the gay community. We’ve got a wonderful story to tell. Now we’re ready to share it with the rest of the country.”

Halsted Vodka. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Halsted Vodka. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Halsted Vodka won a Gold Medal at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. For more information about Halsted Vodka, visit or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

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