Your next martini could be made with the restaurant’s stale bread basket thanks to this vodka brand out to combat food waste
Have your cake and drink it too.
Vodka at San Diego-based distillery Misadventure & Company is made with past due baked goods like Twinkies, crullers and French baguettes that would have otherwise been thrown out.
“Tons of sheet cake, fruit pies, donuts, angel food cake, pound cake, cinnamon buns, cookies, brownies — literally if you can dream it coming from a grocery store bakery aisle then we use it,” Sam Chereskin, co-founder and CEO at Misadventure tells Moneyish.
Chereskin, an agricultural economist, always wanted to find a way to reduce food waste while having a little fun in the process. So he teamed up with his business partner Whit Rigali, a bartender, four years ago to dream up the boozy concept for a cause.
“We can all enjoy ourselves while doing good,” Chereskin admits.
The team gets 1,500 pounds of old bread and pastries for free from a local food bank before it becomes garbage, and turns it into up to 300 bottles of booze per week. Each bottle sells for $22, and utilizes two pounds of what would have been food waste. It’s standard 80% proof.
All of the food is combined in a giant blender that gets mashed up. Then they add microscopic yeast to eat up all the sugar and create a flavorless alcohol. And even though it’s made from carbs, Chereskin says it’s essentially gluten free since the distillation process removes the gluten protein from the spirit.
“Vodka can be made from anything that has starch or sugar, these carb products have lots of both,” explains Chereskin. “We convert all of those starches into sugar. Take it up to as pure an ethanol as possible, filter it 180 times after and it turns into a silky smooth product with no burn that’s slightly sweet.”
Chereskin suggests drinking the libation, which ships to almost 50 states, neat or on the rocks with a twist. It also makes a mean martini or good vodka soda, he notes. Like any alcohol, you might get a hangover from drinking copious amounts of it, but at least it’s for a good cause.
More than $16 billion worth of food is wasted in the U.S. every year, according to the USDA. And 40% of food made in the country is never eaten, reports the National Resource Defense Council.
Recently, chefs have been using food scraps to create new meals to sell. New York-based chef Dan Barber and anti-food waste campaigner started WastED, a pop-up that serves dishes made with produce that would have been tossed. He teamed up with burger chain Shake Shack in 2015 to serve a juice pulp cheeseburger made entirely from leftover pulp from cold-pressed juiceries, cheese trimmings, beet ketchup and a repurposed bun composed of stale rye bread. He charged $9, and a dollar from each order went to food bank City Harvest.
And to combat the 44% of bread wasted, British brewer Tristram Stuart began selling Toast, an English ale with malt and citrus notes made with unsold loaves of bread from bakeries in 2016 using roughly one slice of bread per bottle. His team has recycled 6 tons of bread since the product launched.
“The consumer actually gets to participate in making the environment a better place,” says Chereskin.
“Recycling has never tasted so good.”
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