On Friday night I was visiting Vincent Toscano at the “speakeasy” on Clematis Street (If you don’t know where that is, then you’ll have to find it for yourself). I watched him pour a Monkey in Paradise drink, and I realized that I had a bunch of questions from my interview with, Monkey in Paradise creator, Alex Kowtun which I didn’t have space for in the printed column, but had never published independently.

In the article that was published by Palms West Monthly, I ask Alex: What is Monkey in Paradise, where Monkey In Paradise Vodka is made, what his favorite part of South Florida, where his favorite places in WPB are, and what the best party of the season will be.

So before you continue, read the original article and get the answer to these questions.

West Palm entrepreneur Alex Kowtun doesn’t monkey around

aGuyonClematis: How did you come up with Monkey in Paradise?

About a two years ago, Cofounders, Frank Gomez, Seth Goldberg and I thought that fun, monkey drink markers might “break the ice” & help people talk to each other in social situations–instead staring at their mobile devices. It worked. The Monkey In Paradise monkey cocktail markers became popular as people took them to events, traveled with them and took cool pictures in fun places. This gave birth to the Monkey In Paradise Instagram account. The Instagram account grew to over 20,000 followers before there was even an idea for products. At this time we realized that Monkey In Paradise was a strong social media marketing platform and it was time to do more with it. We researched the liquor industry and found that the industry as a whole was behind on social media marketing. That’s when we decided to launch, Monkey In Paradise Vodka. The vodka went to market one year ago and has been extremely successful in the Palm Beach county market.

aGuyonClematis: What is the age group that Monkey in Paradise focuses on. Is it just a young people’s thing or do you attract an older crowd.

Our age focus is males and females ages 21-35, and believe it or not females over 40. Our brand is identified with a small plastic MIP cocktail marker. These monkeys are served on drinks at bars and restaurants when any type of Monkey In Paradise vodka cocktail is ordered. Due to the popularity of the cocktail maker, our target demographic takes photos of it, shares on social media, and most importantly, breaks the ice and has a better social experience meeting new people.

aGuyonClematis: Why is Monkey In Paradise marketed with fancy cars and beautiful girls?

Growing up, attractive women and rare cars were part of my personal definition of paradise. It is true that the MIP Monkey icebreaker is often photographed with exotic cars, jets, and beautiful people having fun. However, MIP is about making everyone feel like a VIP with MIP– making socializing and networking easier, and making every day more fun for all. Regardless of how YOU define your paradise, MIP is there to help you find or make the most of it

Cars & Coffee Palm Beach is Florida’s largest and most prestigious monthly auto event, with 1500-3500 display vehicles and up to 22,000 spectators each month. Being a sponsor and part of the events has brought us tremendous brand awareness and opened up doors to many new opportunities. Thanks to a variety of news outlets, social media, and the event’s media partner duPont Registry, Cars & Coffee Palm Beach and its sponsors like MIP enjoy a monthly global audience of many millions, and the chance to showcase all that the event, its vendors, the venue, & South Florida have to offer. In addition to tens of thousands of locals, the event attracts thousands of tourists from all over the state, country, and even world who travel to West Palm Beach throughout the year specifically to enjoy the show as spectators, special guests, and/or showcased vendors. That is great for the local economy and all it has to offer.

Which monkey in Paradise drinks would you recommend for our readers to order next time they go out?

Our best selling drink now is the Moscow Monkey. The drink consists of ginger beer, Monkey In Paradise Vodka, mint, and a lime. The Moscow Monkey is even featured on the cocktail menu at Grease, on Clematis street. Grease also features $5 Monkey In Paradise cocktails all day Thursday and Sunday for NFL football.

What are your plans for the future of the monkey in Paradise brand will you have additional Signature Events coming up.

Monkey In Paradise is currently in a tremendous growth phase. Two months ago, we recruited a seasoned CEO, Controller, and Director of sales. We have been adding on new restaurants and bars daily and now will be sold at ABC liquor in Florida. Additionally, Monkey In Paradise is going in to distribution in the state of Georgia in mid-November. We have weekly events all over south Florida, and with season approaching, you can expect even more. Please visit our our facebook page to keep up with the events!

What is your vision for the future of Monkey In Paradise.

First and foremost, Life is difficult, but there is no reason it can’t be FUN. Regardless of whether you drink vodka or not, MIP is about bringing people together to make life easier and more enjoyable. With that being said, I would like to see Monkey In Paradise to continue to grow and have a national presence by becoming the vodka of choice for people ages 21-35 and females over 40!