This is Priory Vodka. A true taste of Yorkshire spirit.
Born from the potatoes grown in our fields, and distilled on site on our farm; we've crafted a crisp and refreshing range of spirits that - we like to think - anyone in our Priory's rich 900 year history could gather to enjoy.
Priory Vodka make a potato vodka, which is nurtured from seed to bottle on the Priory Farm nestled between Tadcaster and Wetherby in beautiful North Yorkshire. We’re proud to say that our ingredients don’t need to travel far when we’re producing our vodka; the potatoes come straight from our fields, and the fresh local spring water only makes a short journey 13 miles down the road to get to us. We’re mindful of the environmental responsibilities we have as a fully functional working farm, and minimising food waste, along with a mindful approach to sourcing other ingredients nearby, has helped form our principle led approach to our production.
We’ve all seen the news about pointless food waste in food production recently. On our farm, we’ve grown wheat, barley, oilseed rape, beans and potatoes for many years. As a potato supplier to some of the big retailers and restaurants, we’ve always wondered how to best use perfectly acceptable surplus produce which isn’t taken by these clients; short of ploughing it back into the ground.
As these questions came to light, it was a happy coincidence that Eric and his family came to live and work on the farm. Eric, who used to help his granddad produce potato based alcohol in Poland, famously maintains that the Polish make vodka ‘better than the Russians’, so we decided to put his boasting to task, and research into the viability of creating a vodka on our farm began.
We’ve always thought there was something special about using produce we’ve grown on our land, using skills passed down from friends and family, to ultimately make a product that tastes fantastic and is produced with these important principles in mind – that of minimising waste, and squeezing every last drop out of the things that we produce; all while minimising our environmental footprint along the way.
We only need three ingredients to make our vodka; potatoes, local spring water and yeast. We peel, chip and boil the potatoes, add our secret enzymes and after transferring mash and distillers yeast to the fermenter, we leave it to ferment for 6 days. After this time we siphon the wort into our still, heat it and distill. We collect the ethanol at 96% (192% proof), then add spring water to bring the ABV down to 40% (80% proof), which is a little nicer on the palette!
Finally, we finish things off by filtering it once more through a charcoal filter and then we’re ready to bottle by hand. Having taken two years to perfect our recipe, we’re proud of the 'pure, fruity and floral' taste we’ve created, which has already earned us two Vodka Masters Gold Awards in 2017; one in the Micro Distillery and one in the Ultra Premium class. In 2018, we expanded our range to include eight flavoured vodkas (grapefruit, toffee, chilli, black cherry, salted caramel, dark chocolate, rhubarb, vanilla and orange), two vapour infused vodkas (coffee and rhubarb), and our gin. We’re proud to say that we’re one of only gin producers in the UK to make gin from their own base spirit.
Far from token additions to the range, the chilli and grapefruit vodkas won Vodka Masters Gold and Silver awards respectively, and the gin also won a Spirit Masters Silver award. When we’ve used the potatoes for the vodkas and gin, we feed the potato skins to our livestock, and we even power our distilling tower from the sun that beats down (if we’re lucky!) on the solar panels on the farm. Ultimately, we think it’s always going to be easier to enjoy a tipple which is responsibly made and lovingly produced, and that’s why it’ll always be special to us, and special to the people who enjoy it too.