Cork’s first artisan gin and vodka distillery has gone against the grain to launch a new range of low-calorie, grain-free vodka and gins distilled from certain varieties of potato.
The team behind St Patrick’s Distillery, Tom Keightley and Cyril Walsh, identified — through their existing business testing food intolerance — a niche market for gluten-free spirits.
They have spent 18 months and invested up to €200,000 developing the business, building a 2,500-litre capacity blending and bottling plant in the Woollen Mills in Douglas, creating five jobs.
Brand manager Barry Fitzgerald said most spirits on the market today are produced from grains, which contain high levels of easily converted sugars. He said St Patrick’s has rekindled the tradition of using the potato, which, he claimed, gives a better taste and aroma.
“Our grain-free process also has the added benefit of the end products being completely gluten free, with less sugars,” he said.
“A common misconception is that all of the gluten in grain is removed by distilling and many people concerned about their diet now choose to completely avoid products made from wheat.
“We start with zero gluten, zero sugar, and zero lactose, and because our facilities are used for potatoes only, we have no risk of cross-contamination from any grain or wheat source.”
The distillery’s first spirit batch uses Lady Clare and Rosetta potato varieties, with up to 250 spuds in each bottle.