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Tattersall Talks Up Organic Vodka with Local Farmers

From left to right, panel members were WCCO’s Mike Augustyniak; Tattersall distiller, Bentley Gillman; and farmers Dale Anderson and Jerome Walch.

Tattersall just launched what may be the most local, sustainable and free-from vodka in Minnesota. 

One of the company’s most novel accomplishments is tracking the grain from the seed all the way to the bottle. At a recent gathering, Distillery Manager Bentley Gillman discussed that entire process from start to finish with farmers Jerome Walch and Dale Anderson who grow the special corn used in the vodka. 

“Many mainstream, organic vodka brands are not actually distilling their spirits themselves,” said Dan Oskey, founder and chief operator of Tattersall Distilling. “We do things differently at Tattersall. We source the highest-quality ingredients to ferment and distill in our distillery in Northeast Minneapolis. And each bottle of our Organic Vodka is dated and labeled to track the entire lifecycle.” 

All that starts with a special corn just right for making booze. 

“When Bentley came to me and said there’s some interest in another kind of corn, I thought of this floury, soft corn that breaks down better in a distillery,” said Walch. “It’s unbelievable the difference of the aroma, and I’m not a vodka drinker.” 

That’s a beneficial partnership for the farmers, who are squeezed by big farming and a changing farm economy. Being able to sell organic corn like this means his 160-acre farm can stick to what makes it great.

“Getting to sell this organic corn at a bit of a premium is a great thing for our farm,” said Anderson. 

There’s a subtle sweetness that isn’t in most vodkas and it makes for a phenomenal product, said Gillman, adding, “You can taste what these guys do in the vodka.” 

As consumers become savvier and more interested in where their food (and drink) comes from, that transparency has become much more important and meant creating a deeper connection from the farm, through the process and into the bottle, he said they created a lot of new process around the distilling process.

“Once it gets here, a sheet of paper follows it the whole way and you can follow that all the way to Jerome’s corn, so there’s a lot more paperwork,” said Gillman. 

Co-owner and Chief Operator Dan Oskey said there was plenty to do beyond paperwork. 

“It took about a year, it was a big process and we had to change all our operations,” said Oskey. 

But it certainly tasted like it was worth it, in a launch event featuring a build-your-own vodka soda bar and other cocktails folks got to try out the vodka. It really was different, subtly sweet from the sugary corn and exceptionally smooth. And it tastes all the sweeter knowing it supports local farms and lowers the carbon footprint of the farm-to-bottle process. 

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