Group of friends create HRLM Champagne, inspired by Harlem community

HARLEM (WABC) -- It was over drinks that a group of friends hatched a plan to create a brand of bubbly inspired by their community of Harlem.

"Harlem is someplace where we like to get dressed up, we like to celebrate, and, I like to say, we're very good at that," Dardra Coaxum said.

And now they've made that vision into a reality with HRLM Champagne. Coaxum is the only female partner in the group and all of them are from Harlem, save for Matthieu Yamoum.

"My first job in New York was in Harlem," Yamoum said.

He's had a long love affair with Harlem, but he's originally from Champagne, France, and helped with the sourcing.

"The concept was made in Harlem, the brand was made in Harlem. We went back to France to make the real authentic champagne," Yamoum said.

It took about three years to get the taste just right for the birth of the Harlem renaissance.

"When you unravel the label you'll see it says 'courage, heritage, and lifestyle' and we wanted to do exactly that to show people to have the courage to turn their heritage into a lifestyle," Coaxum said.

HRLM retails for between $45 and $50 a bottle and is already being served at destination restaurants like Jean Georges and local spots like Barawine.

"The mix of champagne from France, those guys from Harlem put a label on the bottle, it was a very seductive story," Barawine's Fabrice Warin said.

Coaxum knows there are few women making champagne and even fewer women of color, but she and her partners are motivated and see great opportunity.

"I'm ready to be worldwide, I'm ready to travel, see people, and see people popping HRLM Champagne all over the world," Coaxum said.

And drinking in an experience that captures the culture, spirit, and life of Harlem.

HRLM Champagne can be ordered online through Bottle Bronx or Bowery and Vine and can be shipped to select states nationwide.

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