From Growing Potatoes to Distilling Naked Vodka
On a farm located in Herefordshire an historical English county in the west Midlands of United Kingdom is the 400 acre farmland, distillery and home to the world’s best Vodka, Chase Distillery.
It began with William Chase, who came from a family of farmers and on his farm, he grew gluten free King Edward and Lady Claire potatoes that he sold to supermarkets and traders but was left unsatisfied and detached by the lack of feedback from customers.
With price fluctuations, William decided to think of something else to do and the idea of selling crisps came to mind. He travelled around the world to look for equipment and whilst on his travels discovered a distillery which gave him yet another idea to make Vodka from his potatoes. The crisp business was a roaring success and he sold this for an exorbitant amount of money in 2008 but ventured on to making Vodka. He knew that there was competition in the business of alcohol and wanted to make a product that was unique and pedigree.
Read more about the family history of Chase Distilleries
History of Chase Distillery
He sourced a traditional type of Still to make the Vodka base, but he needed something that would not filter out the character and decided to find a rectifying column.
He finally sourced one and began his Vodka venture in 2008 after four years of planning.
The first batch of Vodka that was made unfiltered became what is known as Chase Vodka today and was voted the Best Vodka in the World at the San Francisco World Spirits competition and it is also Britain’s only single estate distillery.
Products from Chase Distillery
Chase Distillery – English Potato Vodka 70cl Bottle€33.55 Find merchant
Chase Distillery – Williams GB Extra Dry Gin Book Box 50cl Bottle€38.85 Find merchant
Chase Distillery – Rose 75cl Bottle€13.08 Find merchant
Chase Distillery – Rhubarb Vodka 70cl Bottle€40.10 Find merchant
Chase Distillery – Marmalade Vodka Miniature 5cl Miniature€3.54 Find merchant
Chase Distillery – Williams Great British Extra Dry Gin 70cl Bottle€35.76 Find merchant
Chase Distillery – Blackcurrant Liqueur 50cl Bottle€21.27 Find merchant
Chase Distillery – Elderflower Liqueur 50cl Bottle€21.27 Find merchant
The Farm and process
Their farm consists of apple orchards, potato fields and botanicals that are planted in deep red and rich soils with the distillery on the same estate to allow for control of what goes from the farm to the distillery.
They do not have wastages as the wasted products are fed back into the farm.
The potatoes are harvested, peeled, chopped and then left until they are a greyish mash before they are left in a fermentation vessel for about a week where the glucose becomes alcohol.
The mashed potato is then placed into the top of a stripping column and whilst it falls down the bottom, It is hit by steam which strips out the alcohol.
This is then placed into the large copper pot where it is distilled four times before it is placed into the rectification column. This column or the “heart of the distillery” is the tallest of its kind, standing at 70 feet.
The product reaches 96% alcohol by volume and after this process, it is tempered with water taken from the source on the farm and once it reaches 40% alcohol by volume it is then bottled by hand and sealed with a handmade cork.
The alcohol is distilled more than 100 times, which is more than most of the Vodkas made and by using potatoes it gives the alcohol a better taste.
The Gin is made in almost the same way, but at Chase Distillery they have two types; one made with a potato base and the other with cider apple vodka as a base.
In the Carter head style still they place the vodka base and add an equal amount of water to it.
Botanicals are stuffed into a pillowcase and placed into the Carter head where they infuse with the vapour, giving it a floral taste.
The Products of Chase Distillery
Chase Original Vodka is naturally sweet and creamy with the artisan methods used
Chase Marmalade Vodka 1000 bottles were originally made in the first batch and it was so successful that they decided to keep it as a regular product. It has aromas of strong orange zest and has a naturally rich bittersweet flavour.
Chase English Oak Smoked Vodka is made with English oak and has a smooth and soft finish with a smoky taste.
Naked Chase Apple Vodka has aromas of fresh apples and flavours or brown sugar and stewed apple followed by an end note of caramelised sugar and apple pie.
Elderflower Liqueur is a clear, deep yellow with the aroma of Elderflower and a fruity floral finish.
Rhubarb Vodka has aromas of rhubarb and custard with a subtle sweet rhubarb flavour and a pale pink hue.
Fresh Fruit Liqueurs are made with carefully selected ripe fruits and do not have any artificial ingredients. Some of the flavours are black-currant and raspberry.
William Chase Elegant Gin consists of organically farmed cider apples which are infused with botanicals giving the gin a fruity flavour.
GB Extra Dry Gin is infused with juniper buds and berries followed by 10 botanicals. It has aromas of juniper and zesty citrus with an end note of juniper, dark chocolate and citrus as well as cinnamon and nutmeg.
Seville Orange Gin has natural floral aromas ending with a fresh Seville orange zest.
Summer Fruit Cup has floral aromas with thyme, rosemary and earl grey with hints rose, elderflower and a bitter lemon finish.
Visit Chase Distillery
A visit to the distillery allows you to go through the orchards and potato fields where you can see the raw materials that are used to make their spirits.
A guided tour of the distillery will teach you how the fermentation process and distilling is done and once you have completed this tour a visit to the bar for a tutored tasting is done where you can experience the flavours of the Vodka and Gins available.
Should you want to enjoy it for longer than a stay in the families B&B down the road might be a good idea.
Tours and Events
Read more about the winery tour.
HR1 3PG Hereford, Hereford, United Kingdom
I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂
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