Making vodka from milk

A growing line-up of forward-thinking producers are now using discarded items in the food production process to create ales and spirits that pair great tastes with a good cause.

Dairy Distillery, near Ottawa in Canada produces a silky-smooth vodka by transforming unused milk sugar (known as permeate) into a gluten-free spirit called Vodkow.

The process dates back over a thousand years with the Mongols, who have a long history of fermenting milk sugar into alcohol.

Most global dairy farmers these days dispose of their milk permeate, which is an expensive process when done safely.

Dairy Distillery saw an opportunity in this waste and, working in collaboration with the University of Ottawa on a lactose-loving yeast, perfected a production process that has half the carbon footprint of distillers using grain, corn or potatoes.

The resulting product is served in nostalgic, old-timer milk bottles — a reminder of the vodka’s unexpected origins.

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