Vodka from the Deep Ocean?

The Hawaiian Sea Spirits Distillery and Organic Farm, situated along the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala volcano in Kula, are doing something out of the ordinary: they are taking deep ocean water and turning it into a premium drink!

The Smiths started to experiment with the ocean water in an effort to make an eco-friendly ingredient for vodka that has an exquisite taste. In 2005, they decided to use one of the largest life forces of Maui (the ocean around it) to create a vodka that is unique to their island. They combined organic sugar cane with mineral-rich ocean water that is taken from 3,000 feet below the coast of Kona near the Big Island.

Why they decided to use Ocean Water?

According to Bill Scott, it was the idea of their founder, Shay Smith, to combine the essence of Hawaii and Maui to their products. Being situated in little islands in a large body of water, Hawaii is naturally bound to the ocean. Bill said that they respect how the ocean gives life to the people, which is why they branded their product as “Ocean” as it is the very DNA of their company. They think it was the best way of really showing their love for the ocean.

Desalinizing Water

Their company partnered with Koyo USA, located in Kona. Koyo USA have license and rights for utilizing water that is drawn from over 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. The pipe gets water that started as a snowmelt from the North Atlantic arctic region. It would take approximately 2,000 years to reach Kona via the Global Conveyor Belt, a current in the very deep ocean.


Photo by Jessica Pearl, courtesy of Hawaiian Sea Spirits Distillery.

According to Koyo, they draw this fresh ocean water at a chilly 42 degrees Fahrenheit and utilize reverse osmosis to remove majority of the salts. This process have the ability to take in adequate amount of essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium), making their water a deep-ocean mineral water.

How does Ocean Water Affect the Quality of the Vodka?

Ocean vodka is comprised of 60% water; therefore, water as an ingredient is very essential. When manufacturing distilled spirits, it is vital to be consistent. Minor variations in the quality of water may be devastating to the products.

Incorporating Sugar Cane

The juice from the sugar cane is collected and filtered than placed on a fermentation process for 3 to 4 days. After fermentation, juice will become a beer which will be heated in a pot until the alcohol is vaporized. The alcohol vapors, in turn, are collected and converted back to liquid form, resulting in a 40% alcohol solution called the “low wines spirit”. This will then be re-distilled resulting in over 193 proof. Finished spirits will then be blended with deep-ocean mineral water to create Ocean vodka.

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