Beak and Skiff Apple Farms is not one for standing still. A distillery is being considered as their next venture.
The Lafayette, New York, family farm enterprise is evaluating the economics of turning apples into vodka. Vodka was chosen as the first distilled product that would be produced because it doesn’t need to age. Other likely products include apple brandy, eau de vie, and pommeau, an aperitif made with apple juice that’s aged in oak barrels.
The premium vodka market would be targeted, with retail prices around $27 per 750-ml bottle, said Steve Morris of Beak and Skiff. "We’ve sampled vodka made with apples, and it’s very smooth."
Vodka is the number-one selling alcohol in the world, according to data cited by Morris.
Cornell University students are conducting market research for Beak and Skiff to determine consumer demand and retailer acceptance.
Beak and Skiff is a leader in the value-added arena, already turning Empire, Northern Spy, and Gala apple varieties into wines and hard cider.
They are particularly attracted to the volume of apples that would be used by the distillery.
"It takes a lot of apples to make a bottle of vodka," Morris said, adding that 20 pounds of apples result in one 750-ml bottle of 80-proof vodka. "Eight-tenths of a pound of apples make one ounce of vodka."