What if you could drink booze and help save the world by reducing food waste? That may be slightly hyperbolic, but Vista, California-based Misadventure Distillery aims to reduce the amount of food waste that enters the landfill by producing vodka made from surplus baked goods.
Misadventure Vodka is distilled twelve times and contains 40 percent ABV, and the main difference between it and other vodka is that instead of using grains or potatoes as the main ingredient, it uses unsold baked goods.
I spoke with Whit Rigali, one of the co-founders of Misadventure Distillery, to learn more about the company’s food waste-based vodka and mission. Rigali, a former bartender, and Sam Chereskin, an agricultural economist, wanted to start a distillery, but do so with sustainability in mind. When the two read the National Resources Defense Council’s report that revealed that 40 percent of food in the US goes to waste, they knew food waste was the sustainability issue they wanted to tackle and launched the company in 2017.
The co-founders began working with food banks in San Diego to gather surplus bread, pastries, and other baked goods that had been sent in. Food banks typically do not distribute these types of food because they are considered empty calories, but these sugar and starch-laden foods are perfect for creating alcohol. Misadventure Vodka can essentially use any type of baked good, like bread, bagels, donuts, croissants, cake, and cookies, but the company tries to separate out items like buttery garlic bread for example.
During the distillation process, gluten and most of the baked good flavors are removed. However, Rigali said that Misadventure’s vodka still retains a subtle vanilla flavor and has a silky mouthfeel. The leftover waste from the vodka-making process is donated to a compost facility local to the area. Rigali said, “If everybody in the U.S. switched to drinking Misadventure, we would divert the same amount of carbon dioxide as a forest the size of Yosemite National Park.”
It is estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year globally, so there is a huge opportunity for companies to make edible food and drinks from this waste. A company in Sweden, Gotland Spirits, recently launched a new vodka made from pasta, bread, crackers, and milk powder that would otherwise be wasted. Toast Ale, a brewery based in the UK, uses bread that would end up in the landfill to make it beer.
Misadventure Vodka can be purchased on the company’s website with shipping available to 40 states in the U.S., and one 750ml bottle costs $24.99. Additionally, the product can be purchased at local retailers and restaurants in San Diego county. The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding.