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Jonathan D.

Organic Certification

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Can an alcoholic product garner the "organic" designation? I don't particularly care myself, but it seems like it could be of some potential marketing benefit for smaller producers who in fact know precisely where and under what conditions their herbs are produced.

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Some can and have.

 

360 Vodka comes to mind first, but I'm sure there are others out there.

 

Nothing like a little organic cola to go with your organic cola flavored vodka. :twitchsmile:

Edited by baubel

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Other than the distilling part, I dint see an issue with the herb bill. As is most of the small makers would qualify, dunno about the likes of lucid. For sure the artificially colored ones would be knocked out. Hmm I actually like the idea.

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We aren't organic. We are chemical free and a half a step a way from organic but that's not the point. Finding, buying, growing, wildcrafting the best herbs available is the only point. :cheers:

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It should be doable in theory - as long as the source alcohol (wine alcohol, I guess?) and the added herbs are all organic, and nothing else (i.e. solvents, dyes) is used in production. It would almost certainly be a lot more expensive, though. Organic certification is tricky, though - there have been some scams in the past, so regulatory scrutiny is increasing. Now, if (for example) your organic fields are down-wind of someone spraying pesticide on their own crops, and there's some contamination, you could lose your certification on those fields for three years (basically, the fields have to re-certify, which requires a 36-month transition period). And if your fields were growing grapes that were used to make the alcohol for organic absinthe, well, the distiller could also lose their accreditation if any "contaminated" goods got through.

 

So, not impossible, but a big pain in the you-know-what, and not something to be pursued lightly, I think. Just my $0.02.

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Interesting question. Not to be a naysayer, but I'm gonna hazard some quasi-educated speculation and say that organic herb cultivation is one thing, but getting USDA Certified Organic is another- somewhat expensive- ballgame.

 

Each herb provider would have to be certified, which means that they would probably have to be a big enough operation for the hassle to pay off in the long run. I wonder how many herb producers that large happen to grow ingredients of the extremely high quality that befits a handcrafted absinthe (not rhetorical, I actually wonder)? Of course, if you had consolidated herb sources that would definitely help.

 

And then there's the expense of organic neutral spirits, and finally, the expense of getting your actual distillery/process certified. So I wonder if it's worth the trouble, and if there are examples of other successful, certified organic craft spirits out there?

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Currently there is no single usda certification. There are 93 recognised certification agencys in the U.S. The cost of the cert is based on the revenue produced by the growing operation. You also have to generate a certain amount of revenue in order to be looked at. You do get a large amount of the cost refunded IF you pass . however you must pay the cert cost first before any testing. The distillery itself would require an organic cert ( at least where I live ) and again the cost of that cert must be paid before any testing for it. Joe made a good point. Putting out high quality product involves alot more then just growing organic. You may grow the most healthy plants ever seen but if the drying process is borked you end up with sub standard material.

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Considering the large amount of farms that provide the alternative health industry with herbs, sourcing organic certified herbs shouldn't be (and isn't) a problem. Some farms are contractually locked in to deliver their entire output to a certain herb company but not enough to warrant a shortage of supply.

 

If you are growing your own and looking to get organic certification then that's an expensive process now even through QAI, CCOF, Oregon Tilth, or the other big name certification agencies. Not worth it really unless you are going to market the hell out of the fact that the herbs are both organic AND grown by the distiller. Last I checked it was $1400 a year but it may have gone up and you get random inspections twice a year from the agency licensed by the USDA to certify you. Certain agencies may go above and beyond USDA standards; for example CCOF has been known to be stricter than QAI about a number of things.

 

In short, do some research and make sure it carries a good chance of a positive return on investment. Otherwise do what Joe said and let the product speak highly for itself, I know his does.

Edited by Tatan (Evan Camomile)

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Thanks, guys.

I could dig an "Organic" label or a "Fair Trade" label but I won't compromise the quality I'm getting now for a footnote on the bottle. On the other hand, for better herbs they could call the anise Purple Diesel and I would have no problem with it.

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The issue with the whole thing is that for quite a few organic companies, it's about as close to a non-organic factory as you can get. Seems to me that most quality absinthes achieve those results because they already care about getting excellent ingredients.

 

I do recommend checking out any absinthe producers that you have close...it's a lot more fun drinking the product when you've seen the equipment or gotten drunk in their forest or harvested their wormwood. :twitchsmile:

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The issue with the whole thing is that for quite a few organic companies, it's about as close to a non-organic factory as you can get. Seems to me that most quality absinthes achieve those results because they already care about getting excellent ingredients.

 

I do recommend checking out any absinthe producers that you have close...it's a lot more fun drinking the product when you've seen the equipment or gotten drunk in their forest or harvested their wormwood. :twitchsmile:

 

 

Garbage in, garbage out :twitchsmile:

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Although I'm very interested in trying that organic offering linked to above I'd like to note that what Ambear says here is true. Just because it's organic doesn't mean that it is good. I've seen some phenomenal stuff and outright garbage both labeled organic.

 

The point of Organic isn't so much what you are getting anyways, but rather what you are not getting (chemical pesticides/fertilizers, GMOs, etc.)

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Although I'm very interested in trying that organic offering linked to above I'd like to note that what Ambear says here is true. Just because it's organic doesn't mean that it is good. I've seen some phenomenal stuff and outright garbage both labeled organic.

 

The point of Organic isn't so much what you are getting anyways, but rather what you are not getting (chemical pesticides/fertilizers, GMOs, etc.)

 

 

For anyone interested here is a link to whats allowed http://www.omri.org/

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