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New Brunswick family of potato farmers launch vodka made from spuds

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick family of potato farmers launch vodka made from spuds' New Brunswick family of potato farmers launch vodka made from spuds
Blue Roof Distillers has joined a small handful of distillers in the country making potato vodka. Even though it has been around since the days of the backyard still this is a first for New Brunswick. Shelley Steeves has more – Jun 8, 2017

A family of New Brunswick potato farmers are getting into the booze business by making vodka from spuds.

Blue Roof Distillers has joined a small handful of distillers in the country making the product.

“We are pretty excited to roll it out and we hope it does well” said Devon Strang, 25, who wanted to find a way to profit from the potatoes they grow that are too small to sell in the grocery stores.

“We decided to use these potatoes, the good small ones, and try to turn them into a value-added product on our farm and that is potato vodka.”

READ MORE: What’s in your booze? New Canadian vodka company says nutritional content should be required

The Strang family has been farming in the community of Malden, N.B. since 1855.  For decades, the blue roofs on their barns have symbolized potatoes. But now they also represent their new line of ultra-premium Blue Roof vodka.

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Potato vodka has been around since the days of the backyard still, but this is a first for New Brunswick.

Strang said 30 bags of spuds are dumped, skin and all, into a massive cooker where the starch in the spuds is broken down into what used to be called potato champagne.

WATCH: A New Brunswick family of potato farmers has launched their own brand of vodka made from spuds.

Click to play video: 'N.B. family launches vodka made from potatoes' N.B. family launches vodka made from potatoes
N.B. family launches vodka made from potatoes – Jun 8, 2017

He said their brand is unique because they don’t use flaked potatoes, instead choosing to cook the potatoes whole and “we don’t add malted barley so we can call our vodka a gluten-free vodka at the end process.”

It was an idea born in the heart of Strang who was thinking of his mom, “my mother has celiac disease so it’s always been in the back of my mind.”  He said while there may be only traces of gluten molecules left behind in conventional vodka made from grain, some people who are gluten sensitive can have adverse reactions to it. So they decided to make their product certified gluten free.

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The family plans to start out small and bottle the product by hand until people get a taste for it.

“I am hoping we are going to sell out and continue to sell out for the first few years until we have more money to invest in more equipment tanks and an automated bottling line,” Strang said.

READ MORE: Premium vodka producers focus on purity, not kitsch

The first bottles were corked this week, and even Devon’s grandfather, Robert, who been growing only potatoes for more than 40 years approves of the new venture.

The first batch of Blue Roof vodka will be available in the farm’s storefront this week and in New Brunswick liquor stores sometime in the next week, with plans to spread the spud vodka throughout Canada.

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