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Sloop Betty - A Maryland-Distilled Vodka


DonRocks
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I tried Sloop Betty, a wheat-based vodka, last night for the first time, and was told that it's the only [legal] distilled spirit made in Maryland. I'd never thought about this before, but couldn't come up with another off the top of my head.

Majestic Distilling Company in Maryland produces a wide variety of spirits including delicious Odessa Vodka. Www.majesticdistilling.com

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FYI I verified tonight that Pikesville Straight Rye is distilled in Kentucky (they have it at The Atlas Room), and is merely based on an old Maryland recipe.

Cheers,

Rocks

Yeah, it's a Heaven Hill product. Why Heaven Hill stopped producing their excellent Rittenhouse 80-pf Rye and continue to produce the not-nearly-as-interesting, and similarly-priced Pikesville is beyond me. In roughly the same price range, Jim Beam Rye and Old Overholt are both much better IMHO.

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Hi folks,

Blackwater Distilling, makers of Sloop Betty vodka, is the only fully licensed distillery in Maryland. Fiore Winery does, with a limited distilling license, make one or two products but they're limited by product type and product volume. Majestic Distilling was sold to Sazerac back in 2009 and I believe had been in the import only business for a number of years previous to that. According to the State Comptroller's office, we're the first full distillery in 37 years.

We're having fun making Sloop Betty now and are working towards being certified as an organic processor and handler. All of our ingredients (wheat and sugar cane) are organic. Our product has been out on store shelves for about a month now and we certainly appreciate the interest!

Check out our website at: sloopbetty.com and we're on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Best,

Chris

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No offense intended, especially to local artisinal producers, but I just don't get vodka. Isn't vodka by definition a neutral distilled spirit? That being said, my drinks of choice are beer, wine and the infrequent single malt so perhaps I have missed the boat on vodka. I do like gin from time to time because it seems that a well thought out gin, such as Jin from Dogfishhead, is a neutral distilled spirit with very interesting aromatics added.

Can someone clue me in?

Cheers!

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No offense intended, especially to local artisinal producers, but I just don't get vodka. Isn't vodka by definition a neutral distilled spirit? That being said, my drinks of choice are beer, wine and the infrequent single malt so perhaps I have missed the boat on vodka. I do like gin from time to time because it seems that a well thought out gin, such as Jin from Dogfishhead, is a neutral distilled spirit with very interesting aromatics added.

Can someone clue me in?

Cheers!

Vodka began it;s climb to popularity in this country when Smirnoff introduced its slogan (and I may be paraphrasing here) "It leaves you breathless", meaning that you could drink Smirnoff and it wouldn't give you tell-tale breath. This caught on, especially with women consumers, and alcoholics, as you might imagine. It was also very cheap, which greatly helped its sales.

The other aspect of vodka which made it catch on is, vodka is essentially a "tabula rasa" for bartenders to project ingredients and flavors onto.

I'm virtually certain that it was the success of Absolut, due to their incredibly expensive and clever advertisements, that jump-started the whole specialty vodka craze. Absolut vodka is, or at least was, the most heavily-advertised spirits brand in the entire world. It's success spawned legions of imitators and wanna-be's, everyone searching for that next vodka product with would capture the consumers attention. Personally, I was stunned at the success of Grey Goose; in seemingly no time at all, it went from nothing to being so successful that Bacardi bought them for 2 billion dollars. Everyone who gets into the vodka field is hoping to capture that "lightning in a bottle" (so to speak).

I bag on vodka a little bit because I simply find it (for the most part) seriously boring and plain and uninteresting. It is also the one spirit whose sales depend GREATLY on packaging vs. quality. So many of my customers buy a vodka based upon what the bottle looks like, and that just kills me; you can't DRINK the bottle!

Having said that, I've noticed also that people seem to buy vodka to impress others and demonstrate how much they can afford to spend. I would enjoy the opportunity to conduct a blind tasting of the top 15 or 20 selling plain vodkas and dare people to determine which was which.

People, please understand: IF YOU ARE MIXING VODKA WITH FRUIT JUICE OR, SAY, IN A BLOODY MARY, ANY PERCEIVED NUANCES IN THE VODKA WILL BE LOST. YOU *WON'T* BE ABLE TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE!

If you use a decent, less-expensive vodka brand, such as Smirnoff, Svedka, Fris, even Gordon's, your drinks will be just fine. If you are using anything over, say, $25/bottle, well, by and large you are simply manufacturing more expensive urine. Think about it..

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Clear spirits began to increase in popularity during prohibition, with neutral spirits catching on in particular as they were easier to hide from the law, not in efforts to conceal alcoholism. Obviously some folks drink it for that purpose. Without doubt bartenders like using vodka because it is very flexible. Not all vodkas are created equally, though, and that is where you can start to examine production. We like gin too, and are looking forward to making that as well as rye whiskey. Does that mean that vodka is easy? We hear that a lot, because people tend to think that neutral should be simple. It is actually more difficult in many respects. We certainly feel that Sloop Betty meets all the identifying characteristics that make it a vodka. We also feel that our process has allowed us to retain the essential character of the base ingredients in a unique way. With the increase in focus on professional mixology, the continually evolving customer palate and more sophistication in the market place, I feel confident the screw driver is on its last legs as far as being ordered in public. You can massacre any spirit in a mixed drink. You can put coke in Pappy Van Winkle just as easily as you can drop bloody mary mix into a fine vodka. As the manufacturers we care that you like it your way, but we obviously also like it to be prepared in a way that highlights its better characteristics. In short, there are good vodkas and bad ones, like any other spirit category. We hope people like ours, and we're not going to complain if they love it in OJ B) [but at least use Simply Orange]

Vodka began it;s climb to popularity in this country when Smirnoff introduced its slogan (and I may be paraphrasing here) "It leaves you breathless", meaning that you could drink Smirnoff and it wouldn't give you tell-tale breath. This caught on, especially with women consumers, and alcoholics, as you might imagine. It was also very cheap, which greatly helped its sales.

The other aspect of vodka which made it catch on is, vodka is essentially a "tabula rasa" for bartenders to project ingredients and flavors onto.

I'm virtually certain that it was the success of Absolut, due to their incredibly expensive and clever advertisements, that jump-started the whole specialty vodka craze. Absolut vodka is, or at least was, the most heavily-advertised spirits brand in the entire world. It's success spawned legions of imitators and wanna-be's, everyone searching for that next vodka product with would capture the consumers attention. Personally, I was stunned at the success of Grey Goose; in seemingly no time at all, it went from nothing to being so successful that Bacardi bought them for 2 billion dollars. Everyone who gets into the vodka field is hoping to capture that "lightning in a bottle" (so to speak).

I bag on vodka a little bit because I simply find it (for the most part) seriously boring and plain and uninteresting. It is also the one spirit whose sales depend GREATLY on packaging vs. quality. So many of my customers buy a vodka based upon what the bottle looks like, and that just kills me; you can't DRINK the bottle!

Having said that, I've noticed also that people seem to buy vodka to impress others and demonstrate how much they can afford to spend. I would enjoy the opportunity to conduct a blind tasting of the top 15 or 20 selling plain vodkas and dare people to determine which was which.

People, please understand: IF YOU ARE MIXING VODKA WITH FRUIT JUICE OR, SAY, IN A BLOODY MARY, ANY PERCEIVED NUANCES IN THE VODKA WILL BE LOST. YOU *WON'T* BE ABLE TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE!

If you use a decent, less-expensive vodka brand, such as Smirnoff, Svedka, Fris, even Gordon's, your drinks will be just fine. If you are using anything over, say, $25/bottle, well, by and large you are simply manufacturing more expensive urine. Think about it..

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You can put coke in Pappy Van Winkle just as easily as you can drop bloody mary mix into a fine vodka. As the manufacturers we care that you like it your way, but we obviously also like it to be prepared in a way that highlights its better characteristics. In short, there are good vodkas and bad ones, like any other spirit category. We hope people like ours, and we're not going to complain if they love it in OJ B) [but at least use Simply Orange]

Accidental irony? Simply Orange is a Coca-Cola product, prized (by me, anyway) for its incredibly consistent flavor profile...even more reliable than PepsiCo's Tropicana Pure Premium, which it was developed to compete with. Both use imported juice; compare with the seasonal variability of Florida's Natural, or Indian River juices.

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