Central Florida-based vodka company turning success into charity

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — The Gameday Vodka company was started less than two years ago by two Lake Brantley High School Graduates and has quickly gained popularity.

Co-founder Ray Horal says he’s humbled by the support.

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The Lake Brantley Alum spent years in the wine and spirits industry before deciding to take a chance in 2019.

“At the time, working so much, trying to climb the corporate ladder...We said man, let’s see if we can go create something, have fun, give back, make a difference, and really do something in the name of my best friend to make a difference in the community.”

That friend, Jeff Strickland, is a fellow Lake Brantley Alum who lost his son to cancer.

Horal says that loss served as a wake up call for him.

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“I went to friends and family and said, I really can’t shake this idea. We believe in it,” Horal says. “So this was fueled by putting family first, by wanting to do something different, by wanting to be a feel good brand that makes a difference...and here we are.”

They recently launched their “Every day is Gameday” Foundation, with Strickland’s son Lane in mind. A percentage of every bottle purchased goes to the foundation.

“For lane, you know, he embodied such a great spirit about him every single day throughout the fight with cancer,” Horal says. “But every day was game day for him, so although we all enjoy sports, I think in all walks of life, every day’s game day for whatever you might be struggling with.”

For those struggling due to the pandemic, Gameday’s giving spirit was on display last weekend when they handed out 300 meals to families in need in Casselberry.

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“I think people have many choices when it comes to the brands they support,” Horal says. “I’m hopeful that along the way, people see that we do do it differently and that our interest and energy and support in our community is sincere.”

Horal says Gameday is also partnering in one of the biggest philanthropic events surrounding the Super Bowl, which will benefit foundations for David Ortiz and Tampa Bay Wide Receiver Chris Godwin.