The team from 80Proof, the independent Australian producer behind the WP Shot range, has launched their latest innovation – Ugly Vodka.

This latest venture was created in collaboration with independent Australian music and events company, Untitled Group, and has sustainability at its core, seeking to help address food wastage, support local farmers and reduce carbon emissions.

Ugly Vodka is made using apples that are rejected from sale at supermarkets simply because of their ‘ugly’ look. According to Horticulture Australia, this problem impacts around a quarter of all produce – 25 per cent of crops don’t leave the farm due to aesthetic reasons. Ugly Vodka has been making an impact in this issue already, with its first batch alone saving approximately 20 tonnes of ‘ugly’ apples from going to landfill where they would produce methane emissions.

“Thanks to campaigning from eco-groups in Australia, food waste is an issue that is top of mind – people understand what ugly produce is, and what impact it has on our environment,” says Shane Barrington, Director at 80Proof.

“Our vodka directly supports Aussie farmers at a time when drought, hail storms and extreme weather events are hitting them hard. On top of all that, we are climate negative and are actively trying to reduce wastage in every area of our supply chain from product to bottles.”

In an effort to minimise the brand’s carbon footprint, all parts of Ugly Vodka, except the glass bottle, are produced and sourced within 80Proof’s home state of Victoria.

Apples are sourced from the Goulburn Valley, with the juice five-times distilled with premium grain vodka then passed through an activated coconut carbon filter to maximise smoothness. The end result is a premium spirit perfect for mixed drinks and cocktails.

The process to creating this high quality vodka was not a short one though. One of the founding partners of 80Proof grew up in the Goulburn Valley and saw the issue surrounding ‘ugly’ produce first hand, noting that up to 40 per cent of fruit was not deemed sellable solely due to aesthetics. After years in the industry, he revisited the area to discuss the idea to turn this fruit into alcohol.

“Technically the idea has been in fruition and development for five years. However, we’ve only been full-time on the project for 18 months. There has been plenty of trial and error as no one has tried making traditional vodka from Australian ugly apples before,” said Jess Conti, Co-founder of 80Proof.

Ugly Vodka launched to consumers online this week, and will be available to the trade in late January. In the meantime it will see a major event launch, being poured at Untitled Group’s Beyond The Valley Festival later this month to a whopping 35,000 attendees.

L: Danny Grant, Co-founder of 80Proof. R: Mike Christidis, Co-founder of Untitled Group

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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