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Top 10 craft vodka brands

While the big players continue to dominate the global vodka scene, there is a host of craft distilleries driving innovation in the category.

Top-10-craft-vodka-brands
Take a look at our pick of the world’s top 10 craft vodka brands

Bing, celebrity endorsements and nightclubs may be among the first things that all spring to mind when vodka is mentioned, though the category’s craft movement which is expanding across the globe is rapidly altering restricting perspectives.

From potato to wheat, sugar cane to grape, different modes of vodka creation are being explored by pioneering craft distillers.

However, the “craft” tag is itself a hotly debated point of contention since it has no clear definition. As large multinationals attempt to cash in on the burgeoning craft trend and the terms “authentic” and “artisanal” are increasingly adopted for marketing purposes, what does it take to be classed as a craft vodka?

For the American Distillers Institute (ADI), which awarded some of the vodka brands on this list, craft spirits are the “products of an independently-owned distillery with maximum annual sales of 52,000 cases where the product is physically distilled and bottled on-site”.

Yet, whatever definition is largely accepted, it’s clear that vodka brands which are authentic, independent and creative, are chipping away at widespread prejudice the category is all-to-often subject to,

Click through the the following pages to see our pick of the top 10 craft vodka brands.

If you think we’ve missed a worthy choice, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Konik’s Tail

Konik's-TailSmall-batch Polish vodka brand is now well-known amongst the UK’s on-trade elite since it was launched by Kosovo-born Pleurat Shabani in 2010.

Made with three different grains – wheat, rye and spelt, the vodka – prides itself on authenticity and clear provenance.

The brand pays homage to Poland’s primitive horse, the Konik, which legend claims has the power to guarantee good harvest for the grains should it be glimpsed by a passer-by.

The distillery produces 4,000 nine-litre cases of vodka a year and is stocked in 600 bars and specialist retailers throughout the UK.

For more information, click here.

Vestal Vodka

Vestal-VodkaAnother Polish vodka brand, Vestal Vodka, which uses potatoes as opposed to grains to create its liquid, also launched in 2010.

The brainchild of Will Borrell, brother of Razorlight frontman Johnny, Vestal Vodka is a craft brand which uses its terroir as it predominant USP.

Bottled by vintage, the vodka is made from potatoes from single regions, keeping the impurities in order to “add flavour”.

“After producing four different vintages from potatoes grown in different parts of Poland we now know that potato variety, terroir and the way you distill it all make a huge difference to the aroma and taste,” said the company, which is rum jointly between Borrell and his father.

For more information, click here.

Sipsmith Vodka

SipsmithThe Sipsmith distillery has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and is now available in 20 markets across the world, causing some to question its craft credentials.

However, speaking to The Spirits Business at the launch of Sipsmith’s larger new site in London, Chiswick, co-founder Sam Galworthy said: “We think craft is a promise that as you do grow, you continue to make your product in the same way you did when you were first deemed craft.”

All of the company’s spirits are handcrafted and produced in small batches in a copper still called Prudence.

Its portfolio consists of a Barley Vodka and Damson Vodka.

For more information, click here.

Death’s Door

Death's-DoorWisconsin-based Death’s Door Spirits claims to be “committed to working with local farmers to create truly exceptional spirits”.

Using a base of Washington Island wheat and malted barley from Chilton, Wisconsin, Death’s Door Vodka is double-distilled and hand cut.

Completed in 2012, the Death Door has the largest craft distillery in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the region with an annual capacity in excess of 250,000 cases of finished product.

The company also produces a gin and whiskey using wheat from the same area.

For more information, click here.

Hanson of Sonoma

Hanson-of-Sonoma-VodkaOrganic small batch grape vodka Hanson of Sonoma is produced by the Hanson family in California.

Launched at the end of last year, Hanson of Sonoma is certified gluten-free, USDA organic, non-GMO. Flavours in the range include Original, Cucumber-Mint, Espresso, Mandarin, Ginger and Boysenberry-Blueberry varieties.

Officially registered with the ADI, the company has ambitious plans to quickly gain distribution across international markets with a particular aim to break into the UK.

“Surrounded by historic, premier Napa and Sonoma grapes, we were inspired to create our own local, socially conscious American vodka that met our standards for taste and quality by using premium varietal grapes,” said Scott Hanson, founder of the company.

For more information, click here.

Y-Town Vodka

Y-town-VodkaProduced by Ohio’s Candella Micro-distillery using pure sugar cane, Y-Town Vodka was named Best of Class for the Vodka category at the ADI’s eighth annual judging of American craft spirits.

Founded in 2012, the Candella Microdistillery is a “one man operation” lead by William Candella, whose philosophy is “simply to make the best Liquor that I can one small batch at a time, life is too short to make bad liquor.”

The distillery is in the process of developing additional spirits, including a Coconut Rum, Grappa, Limoncello, and Caramel Apple Pie spirit.

For more information, click here.

Woody Creek Vodka

Woody-Creek-VodkaWoody Creek Distillers, based in Colorado, claims to the the only US craft distillery which has control over every element of its vodka production, growing its own potatoes at Scanlan Family Farm in Woody Creek.

Made from native Colorado Rio Grande russet, Chepita and Lady Claire potatoes, spring water and yeast, Woody Creek Vodka has won numerous spirit-tasting competitions across the US.

To make the vodka, the company’s own-grown potatoes are washed and mashed onsite at the distillery and then stripped and distilled once to produce its 80-proof vodka.

For more information, click here.

Bainbridge Legacy Organic Vodka

Bainbridge-Legacy-Organic-VodkaBainbridge Legacy Organic Vodka is made by the Organic Bainbridge Distillers using wheat from fields west of Walla Walla, in Washington state,

The landscape is thought to offer a prime environment for organic spirit creation, with a “pristine” water source from the Olympic Mountain Range and “briny maritime air”.

“Bainbridge Organic Distillers was created with the goal of creating ultra premium craft distilled spirits that would express the character of the land on which the grains are grown, and the unique climate of our island location,” the company said.

Organic Bainbridge Distillers also produce Bainbridge Heritage Organic Doug Fir Gin and Bainbridge Battle Point Organic Whiskey.

For more information, click here.

Blaum Bros. Vodka

Blaum-Bros.-VodkaOwned by the Illinois-based Blaum Bros. Distilling Company, Blaum Bros. Vodka is produced using a combination of locally-grown wheat and rye.

The company said: “By sourcing grains from local farmers and controlling the entire process in our purpose-built facility, we’re able to meticulously produce the highest quality spirits from our custom, handmade copper still.”

The distillery also produces Blaum Bros. Gin, Knotter Bourbon, Lead Mine Moonshine, and Knotter Rye. It is also currently creating a Jalapeño-flavored vodka called Hellfire.

For more information, click here.

Chase Vodka

Chase-VodkaNoted UK craft distillery Chase, based in Herefordshire, has received widespread acclaim for its potato vodka since its launch in 2008.

The family-run, independent, single estate company claims to be the only UK distillery to offer a premium vodka that is made entirely from seed to bottle.

Created using a bespoke copper batch pot and 70-foot rectification column – the tallest in Europe – Chase Original Vodka is described as being beautifully smooth with a naturally sweet and creamy taste.

other vodka’s produced by the distillery include a the Chase Marmalade Vodka, Chase English Smoked Vodka, Naked Chase Apple Vodka, and Chase Rhubarb Vodka.

For more information, click here.

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