vodka grown in Idaho

December 31, 2014

Boise’s own 44 North Vodka celebrates its 10 year anniversary

story by Rachel Holt

photography by Pete Grady 

Can you believe it’s been ten years already? “If you look back to when we started out [in 2005], there were a number of wonderful imported vodkas. Americans took an interest in premium vodkas, such as KettleOne and Gray Goose. But why do we have to look to those products for quality? America can make it too,” says Ken Wyatt, Co-Founder of 44 North Vodka. Wyatt, along with his partner Ron Zier started 44 North 10 years ago in 2005.

This Boise based vodka company has 5 products inspired by Idaho: four potato based vodka varieties—unflavored, huckleberry, nectarine, and cherry vodka, as well as one variety of wheat vodka.

“We wanted to pay homage to the great Idaho agricultural story. Idaho has put a lot of food on the table for people in this country and around the world,” Wyatt says. “We have one of the most diverse agricultural setups in the country. We have plums, cherries, and nectarines, but we also have sugar beets, wheat, hops, and potatoes.”

Working with the Idaho Potato Commission and the Idaho Wheat Commission, they have licensed that both their potatoes and wheat come from Idaho. The vodka ingredients are grown, fermented, distilled, blended, and even bottled in Idaho.

Wyatt is proud of his Made-in-Idaho spirits. “After the Idaho Potato Commission and Idaho Department of Tourism, we think of ourselves as the third ambassador for the state,” he says. “We just love sharing the great Idaho agricultural story. There’s so much going on and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Even the name “44 North” recognizes Idaho’s agricultural importance. Wyatt says, “44 North is the premier latitude for potato growing. A lot of potato growing states grow are along this line: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wisconsin and Maine. Idaho itself has a lot of advantages that other states don’t have: high elevation, varied temperatures, lots of volcanic soil, and the right amount of light and water to grow potatoes.”

44 North also works with as many Idaho companies and charities as it can, including getting corrugated boxes made in Burley, having their promotional materials made by another local company, Drake Cooper, and working with Usful Glassworks, a local non-profit that teaches on the job training skills to members of the community.

“We try to support Idaho businesses not just with words but with money. It’s the home of our brand and our people,” Wyatt explains.

Over the next year, 44 North will be commemorating their 10th anniversary. To celebrate, they will be having events all over the state, including releasing a special 10th anniversary logo.

Reflecting on the company’s legacy, Wyatt says, “This company has enabled us to take care of the people we love. We’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends. People didn’t give up on us when times were difficult for them [during the recession]. The events we are having for our 10th anniversary are to thank people for all their support.”

For more information about their company or upcoming events, search for “44 North Vodka” on Facebook, or visit their website at www.44northvodka.com. 44 North products are available through any Idaho State Liquor Dispensary.