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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Organic distilled spirits means exactly what

Can anyone provide scientifically valid information about the value of using organic ingredients to make distilled spirits?  It seems to me to be totally unnecessary and possibly a deceptive marketing ploy.  What does organic mean for the resulting chemical compounds of spirits?  Once they're converted to ethanol, what chemical compounds of the original ingredients remain that can distinguish organic from non-organic?  Spirits are all non-organic chemically!  


The main reason to brand "certified organic" is to cater for those customers who wish to pay more to make them feel better for being more "natural" etc etc.

All spirits are "organic" 

Ethanol C2H5OH is an organic compound, so I was told when I studied organic chemistry at university many years ago.


By being "certified organic" the customer should be confident that there are no pesticides or other "artificial" nasties in their drug (ethanol) that they are consuming.


For a distilled product (and probably many other products as well) being organic does not (in my opinion at least) affect the final product itself; but many people would argue that the process used to create an organic product is more environmentally friendly and as such adds value to the product even though it may be indistinguishable from a non-organic product.


Given that recent studies have shown that eating organic does nothing from stopping greenhouse gases in any meaningful way and that many 'organic' products do use a variety of chemicals as part of the production process, I would argue that organic is simply a modern marketing ploy. Kinda like 'gluten free' Just because you use barley dosen't mean gluten is in the finished product. I try to explain the chemistry to my clients and they always say, 'well if it's made from wheat it has gluten in it. The end. So we want potato vodka instead." OK whatever. I would be more interested in supporting a local farmer that is not organic but cares for this crop and it's quality over lip service about how organic it is. Not saying organic is bad, I'd just rather save it for the broccoli.


Hi, all.  I did bloop regarding ethanol being inorganic.  It is a carbon hydroxyl.  However, when it's distilled, the carbon mostly converts to carbon dioxide and escapes into the air.  Pete B is being factious, right?  I really do need to consult a chemist about the possibilities of pesticides harmful to humans remain in the distilled ethanol.  A number of clear spirits have fruits and other raw ingredients added.  Those additives possibly could have pesticide residue harmful to humans.  It's worth finding out.  Maybe organic matters in wine and beer.  I remain sceptical that it's anything other than marketing when spirits are "organic."

Reply:43 minutes ago, KRS said:
Reply:48 minutes ago, KRS said:

interesting stuff this is . my brother in law is an organic farmer and he spends half his time burning dzl fuel working summerfallow to kill weeds only to combine next years crop and spread them back out across the field again . and he thinks this is good for the environment lol . organic products have taken a huge loss in popularity once nonorganic producers started using the label naturally , most consumers dont know the difference between naturally and organic lol .

personally when i look at 4 dollar a bushel malt barley grown conventionally or 7 dollar a bushel organic malt barley the choice is clear . ...but like pete said the customer is always right , so the next big question ,,,is there enough customers that care to justify the cost difference and are they willing to pay up for there choice . i think not but who knows . 

what percentage of successful marketing is product and what percent is bull shit ..... 


Compare your lab work to organic and see what chemicals from farming come through with your distillate.... I know not everyone agrees, but we believe that organic farming to feed the earth is not a sustainable long term solution, but that it does have merit in terms of distillate mash for flavor as well as chemical composition. Flavor wise: maybe not so much in a sweet corn mash which we don't cook anyways, but using organic heritage corn over Briess commercial gives us better flavor in our Rye (R, C, M) and Bourbon Mashes (C, W, M).


Edit: And Organic Certified Spirits means a distillery uses certified source for organic grains, in a certified organic facility using an organic process. If you deviate form one of those three, a spirit is not certified organic.


We're a certified organic distillery, so I can answer this one.  The main benefit is that it's better for the environment overall.  Perhaps in a refined finished product like distilled spirits, you might not worry as much about directly consuming residual poisons, herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically engineered biochemicals, irradiated materials, etc.  However if it's still an appropriate option if you'd prefer to reduce all of those in the world you live in.

Let's say you're a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico that enjoys bourbon made from Midwestern corn.  You also know from first hand experience that the Dead Zone is bigger than ever and affecting your livelihood.  Perhaps that might have some influence on your consumer product choices?


When I read your response, I did think there was some condescension in the tone, but I can see how you might think I owe you one for calling organic spirits a “marketing ploy.”  Sane people all care about the earth and what we’re doing to it.  I count myself among them.

The methane from livestock production is one of the biggest causes of global warming, which indicates the benefits to Mother Earth of a vegetarian-heavy diet.  Which then brings with it the issue of pesticides.  That’s a hard one.  The government has declared that what is used commercially at this time leaves only harmless residue, which might be true, considering how many Americans eat non-organic crops and live to a hearty age. 

It’s not true for field workers, however, unless their employers follow strict guidelines for crop spraying.  Not enough do, as I can attest.  I was an infant development specialist who worked with many developmentally disabled children born to field workers.  I wouldn’t eat Fresh and Easy produce, grown in the area where I worked, unless death was imminent and I was hungry. 

Irradiation of food does not make food radioactive any more than we are left radioactive by dental x-rays.  There is no credible research that indicates a molecular change in human beings or animals that consume GMO crops, and I don’t merely reference government findings.  Further, the use of irradiation in no way relieves food producers of the obligation to follow strict sanitation standards, although, as with most regulations, some people don’t.  Putting them out of business is a worthwhile endeavor. 

Finally, GMOs.  I’m sure you know that gene modification therapy has helped a great many human beings avoid or recover from debilitating conditions.  If it’s okay for them, it’s okay for field crops and the people and animals that consume them.

What I want is truth in advertising from spirit producers who label their products “organic.” A disclaimer would be honest—and we all care about being considered honest, don’t we?

“The organic raw materials that were used to manufacture this spirit beverage have no more effect on the spirit produced than non-organic raw materials.”


Pete B:  A preference for alternative facts seems to becoming endemic.  We need truth in advertising beyond the dangers of alcohol on our bottles.  Implied benefits need to be clarified.

Reply:On 12/8/2017 at 3:58 AM, Hudson bay distillers said:
Reply:On 12/12/2017 at 6:50 PM, KRS said:

Irradiation is done with microwaves.

The definition of organic is not the issue.  The issue is labeling a bottle of spirits "organic."  The spirit is not organic--the ingredients used to make it were produced with organic methods.  The resulting spirit is not superior to a spirit produced with non-organic ingredients.  Irradiation, "organic spirits," etc, are misleading in terms of the benefits or detriments.  Because people want it, doesn't make the customer right.  Ignorance is just as endemic as alternative facts--undoubtedly linked to each other.  Additionally, many farmers produce "pesticide free," which means exactly that, but don't go through the difficult process of getting their "organic" designation.  Are the farms in their vicinity spraying madly, spewing into the atmosphere where they infiltrate the "pesticide free" crops?  Possibly.  I do think making the effort to produce crops and raise livestock in ways that limit the detriment to our earth is admirable.  I don't think those who make the effort have the right to imply that it's a superior method that results in a superior product when it's not.  People are being tricked into believing that they are getting a benefit from the product itself, not that purchasing the product is one more for Mother Earth although not intrinsically different from any other spirit they could have bought.   I do believe I'm getting too annoyed about the fact that the central issue  has not been addressed by the distillers that use organically produced ingredients.  

Reply:14 minutes ago, KRS said:

It isn't legal?  I believe I've seen it.  Maybe I'm confusing it with wine.  I'll check.  When you do change your labels, consider the honesty of adding the fact that there's no difference between s made from organic ingredients and spirits not made from organic ingredients.


How is it not legal? Im organic certified, i get inspected yearly and best i can tell no one is tossing me in jail.    So your saying a there is no difference between an organic certified candy bar and a regular candy bar? 

Reply:On 12/16/2017 at 3:17 PM, whiskeytango said:
Reply:15 hours ago, Alaskan Spirits LLC said:
Reply:1 hour ago, HedgeBird said:

Organic is better for the environment?  

Really better, or is this just marketing better?  I suspect the environmental benefits of industrial scale organic agriculture are smaller than we believe, and I think a local conventional farmer with a solid practice can be less impactful than a heavy handed organic farmer two thousand miles away, concerned more about revenue than impact.  Ain’t this always the case?  The theory is solid, but does the practice live up to it?

Just my 2 cents, I can’t grow a tomato to save my life, but when my farmer tells me that organic certification ain’t what I’ve been led to believe, I think I owe him my ear.

Reply:3 hours ago, HedgeBird said:
Reply:48 minutes ago, Glenlyon said: