This month a team of local producers launch a first; a premium vodka that’s home grown. Founded by Marcus Calvani with partners Richard and Sarah Matlock, the Jersey Royal Distillery Company is the Island’s first artisan distillery producing premium spirits from the world’s most premium potato, The Jersey Royal.
Utilising potatoes that are either too small or too large to be destined for the supermarket shelves the Jersey Royal Distillery is turning what are otherwise ‘unwanted’ Jersey Royals into a luxurious vodka that will be retailed worldwide after its launch here in Jersey in July this year. The vodka has recently been approved as a Genuine Jersey product and will feature this seal of provenance on the packaging to present the mark to the worldwide market. The distillery will also be releasing other products in order to create a portfolio of Jersey produced drinks over the coming year including a Jersey Gin also from Jersey Royals.
“Creating a luxury product from a ‘luxury farming by-product’ is something that really excites me” says founder, Marcus Calvani. “It’s such a logical thing to do. I hate seeing waste in any food production, so being able to make something as delicious as our vodka, using traditional artisan methods and, at the same time, showcasing our Island worldwide with a high end product is something that I am really proud of.” He goes on to say “The international vodka and gin marketplace has evolved at the super-premium end and is now all about ingredient quality, small batch production, artisan techniques and local provenance. We are proud to be able to say that 100% of our base product comes from the world famous Jersey Royal potato.”
Industry leaders like Chase Distillery in Herefordshire have set a benchmark for distilleries such as The Jersey Royal Distillery and the firm are confident that their ‘Jersey Royal’ will give our product the edge.
All the hard work in the production is done by “Sylvie” a wood fired, copper “ambulante” still, built by the famous Gazagne et Cie in 1950 in Paris.
Sylvie is a beautiful eco-friendly machine currently being fired on waste pallet boards! She can easily process over 600 litres of base liquid per hour and produces a spirit in excess of 75% ABV in a single distillation. The multiple plates that are housed in one of her twin towers refine and purify the Jersey grown spirit during the single distillation process.
Richard Matlock, partner and Head Distiller, said “It’s all about quality and purity at every stage of the process at The Jersey Royal Distillery Company, from the ingredients that we use to create the base to the artisan machinery we use to create the final spirit. We don’t consider anything unless it’s the best. “Sylvie” is as equally rare as she is difficult to operate but I believe I have finally mastered her!”
Mark Crowther, CEO of Liberation Group who will be helping to distribute the product said, “The distillery’s vodka is a great Genuine Jersey product with bags of heritage and provenance. We are really excited about the potential for this new local artisan spirit not just in the Channel Islands’ marketplace but also other markets globally.”