While we know that a big part of creating fine distilled liquor is simply having passion and ambition, there’s also another big part: science. That’s why we were psyched to hear about a new venture through The City Foundry, which is a research and design group focused on improving small-scale manufacturing processes through the blending of science and art. The project is Industry City Distillery in Brooklyn and they are pursuing better craft spirits through some hardcore science.
Their first project has been creating a vodka that people would actually enjoy drinking straight. The vodka they’ve ultimately made, “Industry Standard,” is made with beets instead of potatoes. They chose beets because they use land more efficiently due to the fact that they require less space and water to grow. And, when it comes to fermentation, they use a system of sleek glass and stainless tubes called bioreactors instead of large tanks. This lets them ferment many times faster than normal with better control and in a much smaller footprint than traditional tanks.
But what does vodka made from beets actually taste like? According to Industry City Distillery:
“Industry Standard boasts a flavor profile as unique as the process we use to make it. The nose hints at subtle fruits, with layered complexity beneath. On tasting, light florals open up into a warm, smooth flavor and rich texture, and finish with delicious fruit notes, hints of vanilla, and a touch of spice.”
The vodka sounds awesome, but it’s actually not the ultimate goal of the distillery. What they really want to do is to create a superior ethanol – that’s the chemical component of vodka. Once they’ve figured it out, they want to move on to other projects that may not even be alcohol-related. The lesson in craft vodka distilling has been part of their effort to make enough money to finance other scientific ventures.
Even if these dudes don’t stay in the booze business, we think it’s cool that they’re using alcohol to further science. When they go on to make some huge scientific discoveries, they can tell the world: it all started with a bottle of vodka.