When you don't want cream to rise to the top
Have you ever opened a bottle of milk to find a thick cream layer at the top? This is called “creaming” and is natural since milk is a mixture of oil (fat) and water that don’t mix. In 1899, a Frenchman named Auguste Gaulin discovered that pushing milk through an orifice at high pressure breaks up the fat particles to create an emulsion (a mix of two immiscible liquids) that takes a long time to separate. This process is known as homogenization and is used extensively in dairy processing. Homogenizers are not cheap. Last year, we were lucky to find a small one being auctioned by a Campbell Soup factory that was shutting down in Toronto. We used “little homie” to develop our Vodkow Cream and learn how to make a stable emulsion. When it came to making our first batch of lactose-free Vodkow Cream liquor, we had to rent a bigger homogenizer to process the large volume of cream. The manufacturer suggested we homogenize at a higher pressure than we were used to. This made sense to us since a higher pressure creates a smaller particle size and should create a more stable emulsion. A couple of weeks after the production run, we noticed creaming in our bottles. We reached out to our friends at Lactalis who supply us with milk permeate and now cream. They explained that running at too high a pressure or temperature can make the emulsion unstable. To show us the effect, they compared an over-homogenized sample with a properly homogenized one under a microscope (1000X magnification). The creaming was visible on the over-homogenized sample while the properly homogenized sample was very uniform. With this knowledge, we adjusted our homogenization process and haven’t had any problems with creaming since. Live and learn. Over-homogenized sample Properly homogenized Creaming doesn’t change the taste of a cream liquor and shaking the bottle will mix in the cream temporarily. If you purchased one of the first bottles of our lactose free Vodkow Cream liquor and notice creaming, we would be happy to exchange it for you. To make sure we don't run short of Cream for the Holidays, we've hired Taylor and Matt to run 500L of cream through our homogenizer ever day. With this capacity, we'll also be making our much sought after chocolate, maple and new coffee Vodkow Creams. Stay tuned for details.
Help from the Ontario government to scale our alcohol production for hand sanitizer
Dairy Distillery Founder Omid McDonald joined Ontario Ministers Fedeli and Fullerton to announce the Ontario Together Fund’s $455,000 investment in Dairy Distillery to scale its alcohol production for hand sanitizer. Omid made the following remarks at the event: Hard to believe it was only 5 months ago that I got a call from the Ottawa Hospital looking for hand sanitizer. When a hospital calls to ask for sanitizer there is only one answer: how much and when? Their answer was a lot and now. So I spoke to my partner Neal McCarten who was finishing a distilling run. He pointed to a 10,000L blending tank filled with our Vodkow vodka ready for bottling for the LCBO. I said let’s turn it into sanitizer So Neal and the team got to work and have since produced over 100,000L of hand sanitizer. We’ve donated 30,000 bottles to charities like the Shepherds of Good Hope. We also supplied fellow small businesses and individuals across the Ottawa Valley. While it’s been a challenge my team and I are proud to do our part for our community. Today, we’re honoured to be joined by Ministers Fedeli and Fullerton. As well as MPPs Ghamari and Roberts who are here today on the recommendation of public servants who evaluate thousands of applications for funding. These public servants often go unmentioned so I wanted to thank a few who have helped us on our journey. Public servants like Sasan Farahzad at the Canadian Dairy Commission. He saw the potential of our technology to help the dairy farmers and convinced his skeptical management to fund our milk vodka project. And Mike Barre at the National Research Council who literally showed up at our door offering help to build upon the research we’d done with the University of Ottawa. With the NRC's help, we were able to bring on a leading ethanol specialist, Dave Geros, who helped us pivot to sanitizer production. And we’re here today, thanks to Susan Fournier who works in Minister Fedeli’s department. Susan encouraged me to apply to the Ontario Together Fund given that we could quickly bring online 230,000L of Ontario made ethanol for hand sanitizer and make use of 2 million liters of milk permeate a year that would otherwise be wasted. A win-win made possible by your support today. Thank you. Omid McDonald
Buy One to Give One Sanitizer Partners
Thanks to everyone who purchased sanitizer through our "Buy One to Give One" program. Your support is helping us accelerate donations to front line groups in need. We've struggled with distribution but we're happy to say we now have help.
Dairy Distillery COVID-19 Update
We're keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 situation and we continue to follow the advice of the public health authorities. Our distillery store will remain open for the time being (Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat-Sun 11-5) but tours are on hold. We're being extra diligent in keeping our surfaces sanitized and are encouraging cashless transactions. Our distillery-only products will now be available online (including our Cream liquors) with free shipping over $50. Vodkow is still available at the LCBO but check their website for updates. We're looking at ways we can contribute to our community including making free surface sanitizer available (email email@example.com for details). Given the fluid nature of this situation, keep an eye on our social channels for updates. Thank you for your support and we look forward to the return of sunnier days. For questions, please email or call: firstname.lastname@example.org | 613-256-6136
Vodkow Stock at LCBO
Vodkow is now available as part of a general listing at the LCBO across Ontario in 750ml bottles for $32.95! Find out how many Vodkow bottles are at your local LCBO through their handy search link or click on the interactive map below. If you find your location out of stock, please ask the store manager to order more. Thank you and happy shopping! To learn more about Vodkow, read Our Story
The case for fair taxation of Ontario Craft Spirits
The tax per litre of alcohol in spirits is 7X more than VQA wine.
The milk man arrives
We get our milk permeate from the Parmalat plant an hour away from us in Winchester. While we only need 6000L of permeate, the only option was delivery in their 30,000L trucks. The massive size of the truck became an issue when it tried to get into our driveway. Paul (our architect) didn't make the mouth of our driveway wide enough but fortunately, the truck driver was very nimble and was able to make it work. Once in our driveway, Neal stuck our hose out our milk port and it was connected to the truck. With the connection made, we turned on the pump and the permeate started to flow. In a few minutes our fermenters were filled.
Let the grass roll
Just as temperatures started breaking 100 year records, the landscapers showed up. They started by paving and boy did they suffer. Must have been over 50C rolling over that steaming asphalt. Fed by a constant supply of bottled water, the crew pushed through and got all the pavement down in three days. The sod followed shortly after. It came on large rolls that they rolled out using a bobcat. It was amazing to watch the brown yard become green in the span of an afternoon. To cut cost, only part of the yard was sodded. The rest was hydro seeded, a miracle technology where the ground is coated with a mulch of paper and grass seed. Was fun to watch them spray on a lawn. Just as the landscapers were finished, we got the final occupancy permit for the building. The end of construction!
100 joints on Canada Day
When it came time to design a heating and cooling system for our fermenters, we were fortunate to be connected with Kevin who works at the NRC. Whereas I was thinking we would need a chiller to cool the fermenters, Kevin suggested we start by using city water then see what our actual cooling requirements are in production. He designed a series of valves to regulate the flow of hot and cold water flowing through the fermenter jackets. The valves were controlled by a Siemens PLC that Kevin programmed. Using digital thermometers, the PLC can measure the temperature of the fermenter and adjust the electric valves to maintain a set temperature. Kevin came up with the design but said we should get a plumber to do the piping. Being a decent solderer, I thought I could do it in a couple of hours. Hours quickly became days and I found myself trying to finish the work over the Canada Day weekend. As I discovered later, my propane torch didn't have the power to heat the 1.5-inch copper pipes. But I struggled through it and finished the job with a couple leaks (well perhaps more than a couple).
Shout Out to House of Kinsip
Even though I'm celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary, I couldn't resist getting some work in. Fortunately, work involves visiting a fine distillery in Prince Edward County: Kinsip. The distillery, originally called Gilead 66, was started by two Toronto physicians who recently sold the distillery to two young couples who have rechristened it Kinsip. The distillery is spread over several buildings that include a brick farm house turned tasting room, an inviting outdoor bar space, a cooperage and the still house. They weren't running any tours but that didn't stop me from checking out their still. After I was done snooping around, we sat down to do some sampling. I was really taken with their Wit gin and proceeded to take a bottle home. After sampling, we settled into their outdoor garden to enjoy a cocktail under the trees. I would certainly recommend to anyone visiting PEC to make a stop at Kinsip and enjoy what they have to offer.