04 Jan Introducing our vodka
When you hear quinoa, what do you think? Super food? Delicious grain in your $15 salad that means you can stay full until the mid-afternoon office birthday cake for Karen arrives? A food that until three years ago you didn’t know how to pronounce? Maybe all of the above – yes, you can admit there was a time when you didn’t know how to pronounce quinoa. We’ve all been there. What you might not think of is quinoa being used to make vodka.
Quinoa vodka? Seems ridic right?
But that’s what we did, and, well, what we do still (and hopefully into the future). And yes, we got laughed at, at first. But we’ve always believed in doing something different. And starting FAIR with quinoa vodka felt like the right choice.
We chose quinoa for our vodka because it was the only way we could guarantee that the grain we were sourcing was certified Fairtrade. But then we had to convince the French distillers that it was the right move. The French distillers that had never heard of us. After getting laughed at aboooouuut three times, one took our idea seriously. There was just one catch: he only agreed to make our vodka if we made beer from the quinoa first. And then make the vodka from the beer. Yes, confusing, and complicated we know, but here we are, with a great tasting vodka that is not only unique in how it is made, but Fairtrade as well!
The quinoa itself is at the heart of what we do. It is organic (obviously), specially selected from the Altiplano plateau in the Andean mountains – 3,000m above sea level – and grows in fertile volcanic soil. Which you know means it is the best. Everyone knows that quinoa grown in fertile volcanic soil is the best (you can use that at your next dinner party). Some reviewers have even said the vodka has an earthy flavor, but we’ll leave it up to you to taste for yourself and see.
But the real reason our quinoa vodka is so good is the people. The quinoa we use is grown and harvested by nearly 1,200 small, independent farmers, all members of a grower’s association founded in 1982 by Quechua and Aymara communities. These producers are paid above market rate for their produce, so that they can continue to invest in the farms and crops in years to come. They have autonomy over how they run their businesses, which means they can do things their way. Doing it their way creates not only an A grade quinoa, but it also means they look after the land and ensure it can be farmed in traditional and sustainable ways well into the future.
Quinoa has been enjoyed for over 5,000 years, first by the Incas and now by you. Does it really matter if it’s in your salad or in your vodka? I mean, why not both? At the same time preferably, if we have anything to do with it. As an added bonus, it’s gluten free, which we all know is very important. And at least you can enjoy your quinoa salad and quinoa vodka knowing that the people who grew it are treated fairly and paid well. We hope you like it as much as we do.