Side Note on Misadventure Vodka; or, I fucking love these guys!

First of all, let me just say: if you don't think what these three dudes are doing with unsold bread is stupid amazing, something is seriously wrong with you.

Allow me to set the scene: tiny manufacturing space in the middle of nowhere North San Diego Country aka San Marcos. Purpose of my visit is to check out The California Spirits Company. I step immediately onto a production floor where Casey the proprietor is behind the wheel of a fork lift (Raising a barrel drum on a palette to about twenty feet in the air, because "gravity works just as well as a pump." I can't tell if he's kidding). This place is so small, the five other people in there make it seem jam-packed.

Casey jumps down and introduces himself. Only a few words are exchanged -why I'm there, where I had come from, Casey basically making sure I'm not a spy out to steal his potions- before he's back work. Casey not only distills his own rum and (excellent) liqueurs, but he also rents his facility and equipment to upstarts. Casey is a mentor and dare-I-say father figure to these young men (it's very much a dude-fest); and it keeps him in a whirl of all sorts of running around. I can tell there's nothing else he'd rather do.

And that's how I met the Misadventure boys. First Blake (purple shirt in the picture). Very friendly and smiley guy, who tells me how he and his business partners, Whit (green shirt) and Sam (black), have just begun producing vodka. The twist is that their mash is made from unsold baked goods -mostly bread, but also sheet cakes, muffins, donuts, etc.- donated by grocery stores. In love yet?

Blake ushers me over to where Whit and Sam are collecting runoff drip-by-drip from the still. They are still in experimental mode.  I'm told how earlier that day, a hose broke loose and shot 20 gallons of vodka onto the floor.

If the Misadventure mission wasn't exciting in itself, Blake and Whit have a very Californian intensity rarely seen outside TED talks or app pitches. Fittingly, both gentlemen are from the East Coast (and not techies), and their passion for what they've set out to do is palpable.

Sam is more the level-headed scientist of the group. He doesn't break from his post at the still, as he explains how he got started. Fucking fascinating.

Sam received his BA studying the political economy of Sub-Sahara Africa. He was on the verge of a UNESCO mission to Tanzania when the recession hit. His analytical mind quickly turned to his own backyard -Southern California- where he discovered how wasteful our food distribution system really is. About 40% of all food ends up in landfill. How do you like that Free Hand of the Market now?

Sam's eco-social concern aligned with his interest in brewing and distilling, and Misadventure Vodka was born. Add model-handsome Whit, with a background in bartending, and Blake, the disaffected Wall Street banker, and the sitcom writes itself.

Now, what would imagine a vodka distilled from birthday cakes, pumpernickel loaves and brownies to taste like? Me too. Blake opened the top of the masher for me, where their daily finds break down in scalding water, and I stuck my nose in. The smell was delicious - I could nearly bring to mind a bakery if it wasn't for the underlying dampness. Then I tasted the product: very smooth and just a hint of sweetness.

Bravo boys. If saving the world is a matter of drinking the right booze, I think we're gonna be just fine.


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