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Vodka embracing craft distilling world

Vodka is not lagging behind its contemporaries such as gin in the craft distilling world thinks U’Luvka’s founder Mark Holmes.

The U’Luvka family

Speaking to the drinks business, Holmes said that the craft movement which has gained such prominence in gin, is just as prevalent in vodka – particularly in North America.

He described it as “very artisanal” with some producers using local ingredients such as apples or honey when it came to flavouring their spirits as well.

This, he continued, is what bartenders want and he claimed “it’s the reason why you won’t find the likes of Grey Goose in many smaller bars.

“There’s always been this issue that people measure the quality of a vodka on the number of distillations it’s had. The trouble is, the more times it’s distilled the less flavour it has.

“Bartenders aren’t interested in that though they want flavour. It’s the reason they’re more interested in craft and small batch vodkas.”

Holmes added that in the US some bartenders are even categorising their vodka selections by its base ingredient, rye, wheat, barley etc and then matching them with the seasonal fruits they intend to use in their cocktails.

Holmes also argued that the craft movement was very much tied in with the “big move” towards heritage and a sense of authenticity, which consumers are increasingly calling for.

“A lot of the old brands from Poland are coming back into fashion. A lot are vodkas from the 17th century and they’re coming back because they have history, integrity and authenticity – another reason for gin’s rise recently.”

For more on vodka’s burgeoning use of craft distilling and use of its heritage see the September issue of db.

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