Organic, local and sustainable all have their places in the craft distilling movement. How about energy efficient?
It's a priority for Industry Standard vodka (about $37)—which is, as the bottle reads in part, "made by nerds." "The entire goal of the distillery was to make the most product in the smallest square footage using the least amount of power, all while making fantastic product," David Kyrejko, one of the distillers, told CNBC.
Industry City Distillery is itself a project of Brooklyn research and design firm The City Foundry, which calls 12,000 square feet of a sprawling Brooklyn warehouse home. The distillery uses less than a tenth of that space—a smaller footprint than many New York City one-bedroom apartments—to make 2,000 bottles a month, with plans to ramp up to 4,000 bottles per month. There's also a machine shop, where all of the distillery equipment is made, and a lab for testing new ideas.
Typically, vodka distillation goes something like this: Prepare a mash, usually with grains or vegetables. Add yeast and ferment for several days. Collect the fermented liquid and distill it in a large pot or column still. Re-distill two or more times, as needed. Filter. Dilute with purified water to desired strength, and then bottle.
From an energy-efficiency perspective, there's plenty of room for improvement. "The way that most distilleries are set up is kind of linear, and therefore there's a lot of waste of energy," said Andrew Faulkner, judging director of the American Distilling Institute.