Shakers boutique vodka is made from wheat and rye grown in Minnesota, and in the same facility that also makes 45 million gallons of ethanol a year. The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company that started brewing ethanol a decade ago, and now makes millions of dollars selling Shakers at $33 a bottle (one company exec said the last year saw 15,000 cases go out the door).
One of the people who developed the microbrew beer Pete's Wicked Ale helped bring Shakers to life, and this WaPo story does a great job with the narrative and the facts (props to writer Peter Slevin for using the word bibulous). It took Pete's Wicked Ale veteran Pat Couteaux a few years to convince Bill Lee, the ethanol plant manager, to consider adding vodka to the product line-up. But once the American liquor started reaching store shelves in 2003, it's been quite the hit with critics and your average vodka fan. I know not everyone is a hard liquor fan, so if you think ethanol is more of a beer biofuel, don't forget about this. Biodiesel beer fans, this post's for you.