How Green Is Your Vodka?

By / Wine + Drinks / June 13th, 2012 / 2

The move towards sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming is pretty entrenched in the winemaking world these days. But the trend is also taking hold in the distilling community, albeit at a slower pace and seemingly with less fanfare.

Prairie Organic Vodka, from the Phillips Distilling Company, is a spirit that has, well, a bit of a unique spirit behind it.

The hand-crafted vodka is the child of a unique marriage between a fifth-generation distiller and a co-op of over 900 Minnesota farmers who also happen to be stakeholders in the brand.

In order to obtain United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certification, the process used to grow the #2 yellow corn used as the base grain for the vodka cannot be genetically modified or be treated with artificial fertilizers, hormones, weed controllers or pesticides. Even waste material is put to good environmental use. Leftover corncobs and other biomass are converted into biogas energy that is used to power the stills and spent grains are returned to the farmers to be used as livestock feed.

The certified organic corn is distilled in limited quantities not far from the fields in which it was grown. The spirit is distilled between four and six times until the desired smoothness and character is obtained. The result is a vodka that is pure and smooth in the mouth with just a hint of fruit in the aroma.

Not only is Prairie Organic Vodka USDA certified organic (requiring that the entire production process from field to shelf meet rigorous standards) it is one of a short list of spirits certified kosher by The Orthodox Union.

Although its production process is much more expensive than traditional vodkas (the organic corn costs twice as much as that which is conventionally farmed), it’s cost is not as high as some other “luxury” vodkas. Prairie Organic Vodka sells for under $40.00 in Canadian markets.

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Looking at the small things that make life great and the people who create them.

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