David Rawlings, from Priory Farm, Syningthwaite, near Wetherby in North Yorkshire, launched Priory Vodka three years ago using potatoes to form its base spirit. In those three years the brand has gone from strength to strength, now boasting ten flavoured varieties alongside his original vodka.
The range has been a big success winning two awards at the International Spirit Masters last year. Priory Hot Chilli Vodka was given a Gold award and Priory Grapefruit Vodka was awarded a Silver.
Not one to stand still, David said they had a beetroot flavour and a passion fruit flavour in the pipeline. An award winning Priory Gin has also been added to the mix.
“I’m always trying to make the farm more profitable and I’d seen how my fellow potato farmer, William Chase, had succeeded with his excellent Chase Gin using potatoes as the base spirit.
“It’s the use of the spud that sets our vodka, and now Priory Gin, apart from many of the rest who use grain. “We’ve developed our own gin purely as a London dry gin style so far.”
David’s land, being grade two medium loam, is suited to growing wheat, barley and potatoes. He has 50 acres of his two main varieties, Pentland Dell and Fontaine, which he planted this year and said he is happy with so far.
“The spuds are looking good. We use around five acres of the Pentland Dell variety for our vodka and now the gin.”
David said he had seen a “definate change” in the climate over the years. “Everything seems more extreme with long periods of wet weather and of hot weather,” he said.
Like a number of businesses during lockdown David said Priory Vodka had seen an uplift in online sales.