Chase Vodka is an English potato vodka distilled and bottled at the Chase Distillery located on a farm some 30 miles north west of Cheltenham in Herefordshire. All of the potatoes and apples used in the production of Chase Vodka and Gin are grown at the farm. The first Chase Vodka was made in April 2008. Chase Vodka is made in a unique, hand-crafted copper batch pot still which allows much more control over the distillation process than larger, industrial operations have. The Chase family have potatoes in their blood, as it were! Prior to distilling, they were famous as the producers of Tyrrell’s Crisps.
At Fareham Wine Cellar as well as the Chase Vodka we also stock their Chase Marmalade and Rhubarb Vodkas, their fantastic Gins, the Williams Elegant 48 Gin and the Williams GB Extra Dry Gin.
Vodka is made by converting starchy sugars to alcohol. In the case of Chase Vodka potatoes are the key ingredients and the start of the distillation process. The first step in the process is to make a mash (in the distilling sense, not in the mashed potato sense!). Old-fashioned high starch content varieties of potato, including Lady Rosetta and Lady Claire, are harvested and stored in wooden boxes in the dark when necessary. The potatoes are washed and go through a peeling machine and the peelings are used as compost on the fields. The peeled potatoes are then cooked up with hot water to make, in essence, a very runny mashed potato. This is cooled to 60°C and enzymes are added to break up the long chain starch molecules into smaller chain sugars that can then be fermented. Yeast is then added to start the fermentation in a process that gives of carbon dioxide, heat and, most importantly, alcohol. After fermentation the alcoholic liquid (usually with a strength of between 8 and 10% abv) is technically known as “beer”. This liquid is then processed (distilled) through the still.
The distillation process is essentially a method of concentration the alcoholic content which is possible due to the differing boiling points of water and alcohol. Chase Vodka is distilled five times. After the first distillation run only the heart of the distillation is used to achieve a pure, clean spirit but with retaining as much character in the finished Vodka as possible. By law, in the UK, Vodka has to be distilled to 96% alcohol by volume (abv) and then water back down to the manufacturers bottling strength – in this case 40% abv. The water used to finish Chase Vodka is source from an borehole into an aquifer beneath an orchard on the Chase farm. The water is cleaned and purified but not too much so as not to remove any beneficial character. The final step in the process is to chill filter the Vodka which removes other impurities (long chain proteins) that would make the Vodka cloudy when it is chilled.
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