From spuds to spirits: N.B. potato farmers develop line of vodka
Published Monday, June 12, 2017 6:07PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, June 12, 2017 6:30PM ADT
The Strang family has been growing potatoes in New Brunswick for generations. Now, a new value added product derived from the spuds they grow is getting noticed.
Most of the Strang family’s crop goes to local grocery stores, but not all potatoes are market quality.
“We have always struggled with what to do with our smaller potatoes,” says Devon Strang, vodka distiller. “We've always heard about potato vodka…seen potato vodkas in liquor stores and we said ‘why can't we do this ourselves?’”
So the family hired a research team of chemists to help develop their recipe. The process took about five years.
“We tested different varieties of potatoes, tested different cooking methods, we analyze our mash, we analyze our ferment, analyzed running the stills,” says Devon Strang.
Today, three generations of the Strang family work under one roof bottling, labelling, and shipping their premium vodka.
“Each week we use 90 bags of potatoes in our distillery with your 90, 50 pound bags, which correlates to 30 bags per batch,” says Devon Strang.
That produces 350 to 400 quarts of premium vodka.
Blue Roof is the first farm-to-bottle distillery in the Maritimes and it's a dream come true for Richard Strang.
Richard presented the idea to his son Devon, who was looking for a project to complete his commerce course at Mount Allison University.
“I said ‘why don't you start this vodka thing I was looking at,’” recalls Richard Strang. “‘You guys can start looking into the set-up of it’ and he took it right from there.”
Blue Roof Vodka is available in select stores throughout the province and the Strang's expect their home-grown spirit to be available province-wide in a couple of weeks.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis