The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) has partnered with METSS Corporation to prove that vodka, the purest of spirits, can be produced using soybeans or soybean meal. The result is an exceptionally smooth vodka for a market that seeks innovation.
Alcohol ingredients have run the gamut from barley to tree bark—any source of fermentable sugars. Low in starch, soybeans have been largely overlooked. But today’s consumers are looking for the new and interesting, the next craft brewery, the cutting-edge beverage. Climbing the market ladder are vodkas made from quinoa, whey, black-eyed peas, maple sap, milk, and even air!
The OSC–METSS team saw an open door, and the development process got underway. They evaluated over 30 combinations of whole soybeans and soybean meal with traditional ingredients such as corn and barley. The team optimized soybean malt, mash, and wort processes and fermented the wort with a high-yield vodka yeast, then ran the liquid through three distillation cycles and charcoal filtration for a clean, clear, high-value product. Then they served it. In blind testing, every taster picked soybean-based vodka over three high-endn domestic brands.
Production of soybean-based vodka has been demonstrated at gallon quantities. The product was preferred in limited taste-testing over commercial brands.
Even the byproducts are of higher quality, with higher nutrients and lower water content, facilitating secondary use as animal feed.
The developed product and mash bill are both available for technology transfer and licensing.
Opportunities abound in high-end, premium, and niche markets. The final product can be organic and sustainable. The mash bill can be the base or gluten-free malted spirits as well. Best of all, this novel approach to spirits production will attract today’s libation explorers.
- Support for U.S. soybean farmers.
A thriving soybean-based spirits market will be a great boon to our local farmers. OSC cares about that. Odds are that some of your customers do, too.
Current development status
Commercially available technologies
Desired business relationship
New technology applications