Spirits: Buckeye Vodka
Cities aren't recession-proof. Spirits are. Two years ago, an Ohio family decided to start helping one by distilling the other.
Launched this spring, Buckeye Vodka has put Dayton on the map in the growing micro-distillery trend. And, as the handcrafted spirit begins to fill more glasses, the founders hope to bring jobs back to the Gem City.
"At all the liquor agencies I've been to, everyone has been super supportive of local stuff," co-founder Chris Finke said. "They want Ohio to succeed. That's been really cool. It's been a warm reception."
Buckeye Vodka has hit the shelves at 225 locations across the state, including more than 30 in Central Ohio. A 750-milliliter bottle sells for $20.
Like many small-batch spirits, Buckeye Vodka is born from a corn-based neutral spirit that's carefully refined in the company's still to aid smoothness and remove impurities. One thing that makes Buckeye Vodka unique is that it's eventually blended with uniquely purified, medical-grade water produced by a company owned by one of Finke's business partners.
"We're a more traditional vodka," Finke explained. "We were going for smooth."
Different than the bold, distinct flavors of other craft vodkas, Buckeye is designed to slide happily into a wide range of mixed drinks and cocktails.
"As far as other locally made vodkas, I don't think they're competition for us, and I don't think we're competition for them," Finke said. "The flavor profiles are different, and the price points are different."
Bottle Up and Go
Here are a few spots around Columbus where you can grab a bottle of Buckeye Vodka. A map of retail locations is available at buckeyevodka.com.
The Hills Market
7860 Olentangy River Rd., Worthington
2140 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington
PSN State Liquor
185 S. High St., Downtown
851 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview
Weiland's Gourmet Market
3600 Indianola Ave., Clintonville