Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, joined by MPP Jim McDonell, announced Dairy Distillery as a recipient of the inaugural Excellence in Agriculture Awards.
Known as ‘Vodkow’, Dairy Distillery uses innovation to produce a new spirit from milk sugar by applying a specific process to convert the milk by-product into alcohol, with anything not being bottled put safely back into the environment. Dairy Distillery will also help Ontario dairy farmers by purchasing milk permeate, most of which would normally go to waste at a cost to the farmer.
“Ontario’s agri-food sector is innovative and drives economic growth in our province,” said Hardeman. “Agri-food innovators like Dairy Distillery push boundaries for expanding economic development. Their innovation takes unused milk sugar and transforms it into a smooth and clean spirit, creating a great opportunity for dairy farmers to reduce waste product.”
The Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize agri-food businesses, individuals and organizations that have raised the bar for agri-food excellence, demonstrated leadership in their field, undertaken strategic product development benefiting their sector, or advanced technological innovation.
The milk sugar is found in high quantities in the by-product of ultrafiltered milk that, until now, has been viewed as waste, resulting in a strain on the environment and disposal costs for dairy farmers.
The Excellence in Agriculture Award recipients were chosen by a committee of agri-food sector leaders. The awards recognize innovation for one primary producer, one processor, and one agri-food organization, and gives an honorary mention to an additional six innovations.