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Wheyward Spirit Turns Leftover Whey into Vodka-Esque Alcohol

Wheyward Spirit Turns Leftover Whey into Vodka-Esque Alcohol

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Knock knock! Who’s there? Whey! Whey who? There’s a whey better drink to try this holiday season than a candy cane schnapp, that’s who!

Start-up Wheyward Spirit is making headlines of late thanks to its innovative strategy to minimize the toll food waste has on the cheese industry. The brain child of Oregon State University alum Emily Darchuk, Wheyward Spirit is churning out a “farm-to-flask” alcohol drink derived from leftover liquid whey that’s already changing the cheese game.

Emily Darchuk, CEO, Wheyward Spirit“We take this nutrient-rich whey to ferment and distill into our ultra-premium spirit,” CEO Emily Darchuk said to Forbes. “It produces a spirit with a uniquely velvety smooth finish and a sippable flavor.”

The specialty spirit is similar to vodka and makes use of that nine pounds of remaining whey leftover from every 10 pounds of milk a cheesemaker handles. Not only does this process take a stab at decreasing food waste, the two-week-long process, including fermentation, distillation, and bottling, also minimizes the company’s carbon and water footprint, especially compared to companies producing grain-based spirits.

Wheyward Spirit is churning out a “farm-to-flask” alcohol drink derived from leftover liquid whey. (Photo Credit: Travis Kim)

“Long term, we hope to have the biggest impact possible,” said Darchuk. “Our process of production is different but conceptually the impact of the waste stream utilization is the same.”

Partnering with a few local Oregon dairies, Wheyward Spirit is looking to launch its $40 bottles at retail in 2019 and continue to establish its brand on a national scale.

“As people want products that are unique and want to avoid sugary mixers, I wanted something that could be just as good neat as it is in a mixed drink. It’s bold yet delicate and can really stand on its own as a sippable spirit,” Darchuk concluded.

To learn more about this innovative start-up, check out the Forbes interview here. And to stay up-to-date on the latest that's shaking up deli, dairy, bakery, and specialty food, stick with us at Deli Market News.

Wheyward Spirit