If you ever needed a reason to feel good about your drinking habit, you’ve clicked on the right article.
Some American distilleries are beginning to use ugly fruit (fruit that’s overripe, malformed, or undersized) to make the booze you easily knock back after a long day.
Civil Eats reported on a few of these forward-thinking distilleries back in June. One of the distilleries featured was Peach Street Distillers in Palisade, Colo. When Peach Street opened its doors in 2005, Moose Koons, partner, didn’t know that so much fruit went unused. But once he became privy to the benefits of ugly produce, Koons decided to do something “positive” with the fruit. “In 2014, Peach Street Distillers used 130,000 pounds of over-ripe peaches and 96,000 pounds of pears to produce more than 1,000 cases of fruit-based spirits,” Civil Eats reports. This practice is especially in need this year because pear farmers in Colorado’s Grand Valley had to deal with heavy rains — those rains caused fruit scarring.
According to Civil Eats, Clear Creek Distillery, Portland, Ore., and Black Star Farms, Suttons, Mich., also use ugly fruit. Black Start Farms produces wine and Clear Creak sells a cherry liquor that uses the split fruit cherries that result after heavy rains. “To produce 10,000 cases of artisanal spirits annually, including pear eaux de vie and apple brandy, Clear Creek Distillery partnered with a packing house in the Hood River Valley to buy fruit that is too small or too scarred to be sold in supermarkets. Clear Creek buys upwards of 600,000 pounds of pears a year, using up to 30 pounds of fruit for each bottle.”
While these ugly produce sales are great for the distillers (typically distillers have to use “prime fruit at market rates,” and the high fruit content of overripe fruit produces great spirits), it’s also good for the farmers. “Prior to selling their soon-to-be-discarded produce to artisanal spirits producers for 10 cents per pound, farmers in Colorado were digging pits to bury it or tossing it in the Colorado River to keep it from attracting pests,” reports Civil Eats.
Have you ever had any of these spirits? What did you think?
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