Hangar 1 sought new ways to produce its vodka in an effort to support water conservation in California, which is currently in the midst of its biggest drought in history. The answer was all around them, in the dense fog that regularly rolls in from the ocean and up into San Fransisco’s surrounding hills.
“Since moving to California and working with local farmers to create our citrus vodkas, I couldn’t help but talk with them about the California drought and how this is effecting local agriculture,” Hangar 1’s head distiller, Caley Shoemaker, told Digital Trends. “I looked up into the sky and asked myself, ‘Could we do something with this wonderful fog?'”
The company partnered with Fog Quest –a nonprofit initiative that helps low-income regions around the world collect water in sustainable ways– to construct mesh-canvas fog catchers in the isolated hills near the ocean. Wind from the ocean carries the moisture upward so the fog isn’t blocked by buildings and foliage. As the fog meets the mesh, millions of droplets form and trickle down into plastic pipes and collection barrels underneath. The natural process is similar to that of distillation, in which a liquid is vaporized and collected again as a liquid in a more purified form.
Once Hangar 1 collected the fog, they blended the water with a grape-based vodka, distilled from Bonny Doon’s Le Cigar Blanc 2012. The result is a “crisp, pure, and gluten free sipping vodka with elegant hints of pear, citrus, and honeysuckle,” and notes that Shoemaker said closely resemble the wines of pioneering Californian winemaker Randall Graham.
Shoemaker shares in our concerns that Bay Area fog-water may be affected by pollution and, as a result, would produce a subpar or even unsafe product. However, she said, “We took very special care to make sure that our water was 100% safe to drink through special filtration process.”
At $125 per 750ml bottle, Fog Point is a spirit to sip slowly. But if the price makes your eyes water, consider that Hangar 1 will donate all profits to conserving water in California. Now that’s something worth toasting to.