Local distiller hopes to
make a splash with vodka By David Lias
Plain Talk Nate Brady has a simple business plan, according to the Web site for his enterprise, Still Vodka. Buy South Dakota grains, fruits and vegetables from producers. Ferment a simple wine or beer (mash). Distill in 60 gallon batches. Filter. Bottle. Enjoy. Brady is hoping people in the Vermillion area will catch the spirit and purchase a bottle of his South Dakota made vodka. He plans to market his vodka locally. â�?�?Iâ�?�?m starting in Vermillion, and Iâ�?�?m going to see how it goes,â�? he said. When Brady was 17, he started making wine, and then progressed to beer. â�?�?The next natural step seemed to be to make distilled spirits,â�? he said. â�?�?Unless you have licensing from the government, thatâ�?�?s called moonshining, so I jumped through the hoops, got it done (licensing) and now weâ�?�?re doing it on a small scale, using South Dakota products.â�? Mention vodka, and one easily conjures up images of Russia and potatoes. The spirit, it turns out, can be made with products commonly found in South Dakota. â�?�?It can literally be made from any fermental,â�? Brady said. â�?�?You just need to bring the proof up. Vodkas are made from grapes. Iâ�?�?ve got some that Iâ�?�?ve processed just recently thatâ�?�?s made from honey, and in the future weâ�?�?re looking at whiskey products, mainly because corn is king here in South Dakota.â�? Brady received his licensing to operate his distillery a year ago. â�?�?And I work a day job, so itâ�?�?s a slow process,â�? he said. He received a boost from Valiant Vineyards of Vermillion, which has fermented approximately 400 gallons of wine that it didnâ�?�?t plan to bottle. â�?�?With that batch, I ran it through the still darn near six times,â�? Brady said, â�?�?and filtered it.â�? Regulations allow Brady to sell vodka made from Valiant Vineyardsâ�?�? wine back to the winery for marketing. â�?�?The honey vodka I have coming up didnâ�?�?t come from them, and I have yet to get a wholesaler for that,â�? he said. Brady has no plans to ramp up production of his vodka to a large scale. â�?�?The advantage of doing small batch is that you can take your time with it, and you basically donâ�?�?t stop until it is right,â�? he said â�?�?I just keep distilling it until it tastes right.â�?