Gotland, Sweden-based Gotland Spirits this week launched a new liquor product called SPILL, which the company says is a “premium alcoholic beverage made from food waste.” The product, a vodka, became available to folks in Sweden on Feb. 16, according to materials sent to The Spoon.
To get this “truly sustainable” spirit, the company teamed up with Coop, one of Sweden’s largest grocery retailers. Gotland “rescues” surplus food from the retailer. Among the food types mentioned are pasta, crackers, fruit, and milk powder.
“We thought, what if instead of producing new carbs, can we recycle what’s already out there,” Johan Johansson, founder of Gotland Spirits, said in a statement sent to The Spoon. By his account, the resulting vodka is on par with Russian luxury vodkas in terms of quality and smoothness.
The company did not provide extensive details on the technical process of creating booze from food waste, but the concept is similar to what other beer, wine, and spirits companies have done in the past: rescue food that would otherwise go to the landfill and use it in the distillation or brewing process to create the beverage. Misadventure Vodka, based in Southern California, makes vodka from rescued baked goods. On the beer side of things, a company called Toast makes craft beer from surplus bread.
Both the U.S. and the EU are similar in terms of where the most food gets wasted along the supply chain: at consumer-facing levels, including grocery stores. Food waste per capita in these regions totals to about 95-115 kg/year, compared to 6-11 kg/year in Subsaharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The EU specifically wastes around 88 million tons of food annually, or upwards of €143 billion, according to the European Commission.
Gotland Spirits is a relatively small distillery, so for now, at least, SPIL is only available in Sweden.