Misadventure Vodka is tackling food waste by turning it into very useful booze.
Part of what makes vodka vodka is that it's billed as clear, odorless and flavorless. So what does it matter what it's made from? A recently opened San Diego spirit producer is using that logic to distill the fight against food waste down to its purest form—making vodka from a local food bank's leftover baked goods that would otherwise be destined for the waste dump.
Misadventure Vodka, currently the Misadventure & Co distillery's lone product, is described by the company as "vodka made from unsold baked goods." "When we first came up with the idea, no one thought it was a good one," distillery co-owner Sam Chereskin told NBC 7 San Diego. His company sources its fermentables from Jacobs and Cushman San Diego, a food bank, by grabbing leftovers that weren't even able to be given away to the needy. It ends up being over a thousand pounds of bread products a week. "We get Twinkies, Ho Hos, French baguettes, crullers, you name it. The whole bakery aisle goes into our vodka," explained Whitney Rigali, the other co-owner. "Essentially, all these baked goods have starches and sugars inside them, which are the building blocks to making any type of alcohol."
Though the product may sound weird, the process isn't that different from making any distilled beverage. The bread products as blended and mashed, then pitched with yeast to ferment into alcohol. From there, distillation extracts the booze and it's filtered into vodka. The Misadventure crew admits that using food waste lowers their bottom line, allowing them to produce and sell their product at a lower cost, but they also believe that battling food waste is an important part of what they do. "I have a reason to get up in the morning that goes beyond having a drink," said Chereskin, "but I get to have that too. So, it's a pretty fun day."
Misadventure believes they are one of the first vodkas produce in this fashion. Though making alcoholic beverages from food waste certainly isn't new: A number of beers have already tried tackling the food waste issue by getting people buzzed—including one from Dogfish Head and chef Mario Batali. Turns out food waste might actually be the one problem alcohol can solve.