Katherine Vellinga

CEO, Zirkova Vodka

Speaker's bio

Creating and growing Zirkova Vodka wasfundamentally rooted in Katherine Vellinga’s rich Canadian-Ukrainian heritage.After leaving the corporate world behind in 1997 to explore and work in herparents’ homeland of Ukraine, Katherine, along with her husband, John, bothengineers, discovered a true find in the Cherkasy region of Ukraine – thebirthplace of vodka and a vodka producer, dating back to 1896, that honouredclassical methods that were disappearing from the modern world.

Inspired to share this discovery withCanadians, Katherine and John launched Zirkova One and Zirkova Together Vodkas;vodkas distilled in Ukraine, using the finest, center-cut, grain spirits,blended with perfectly mineralized water from a famous, deep, artesian source,and produced in the origins of vodka itself. More than just a brand,Katherine’s vision for Zirkova is a reflection of her own beliefs, of standingfor the freedom to be and celebrate who you are, to toast and acknowledgeothers, and to create special moments that bring people closer together.

Katherine’s passion doesn’t end atspirits. She has helped raise over $400,000 for numerous humanitarian,Ukrainian and human rights charitable organizations including Sick KidsHospital, The Ambulance Project, Halton Children’s Aid Society, Women United (UnitedWay), KyivPride Canada, and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.  

Zirkova pledged 100% of their profits tothe Canada Ukraine Foundation and their Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal fund on allsales in Ontario from Feb-April 2022.  Inmid-2022, along with Zirkova’s Ukrainian Master Distiller, she led the launchof Zirkova Unity, proudly made in Canada, as a response to the invasion ofUkraine.  Its sole purpose is to preserveUkrainian vodka making traditions here in Canada and to unite Canadians tocontinue to give back to Ukraine, donating 100% of its profits.

Katherine been featured in the LCBO’s Food& Drink magazine, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, CITY TV, CTV, CHCHTelevision, Newstalk 1010, AM580 News, Postmedia, and the University ofWaterloo Magazine among others. Katherine lives in Oakville with her husbandJohn and their two children.